Columnists

Lest we forget

India’s policing disorder

In the 1990s Mumbai's 'crime-busting' policing strategy included routine extra-judicial executions, known as 'encounter killings'. Here this state violence is examined as communalisation of the police, enforcing insecurity for the minority over security for all.

Left behind: the rural youth in Afghanistan’s election

Despite the success of Afghanistan’s transparent, peaceful election, engagement with rural populations remained low. Failure to address the growing disaffection resulting from the urban-rural gap threatens the country's fragile progress. 

India: jostling for geopolitical control in Afghanistan

Forecasts past the withdrawal of US and British forces in Afghanistan tend to prize fears of violence and instability spilling over into Pakistan, obscuring the country's vital importance to both India and China. 

Policing public sexuality: queerness, intimacy, protection and violence

Excluded from police protection, subjected to intimate scrutiny of one's public sexuality, and regularly victim of police violence, for LGBTQ people in India police presence routinely signals danger. The queer rights movement has developed intertwined with this reality of intimate police violence.

Content warning: this article contains description of rape and sexual violence.

India and Pakistan: time to call time on proxy wars

India and Pakistan’s zero-sum game is hindering development and the proxy wars in which the two states have indulged need to come to an end. If they do, big dividends would follow.

In search of security: "as transgenders we don't count at all"

Film: An organiser for transgender rights from The Humsafar Trust discusses insecurity and everyday experiences of policing for LGBTQ people in Mumbai. Part of the Whose Police? collection of interviews with citizens, analysts and activists around the world exploring the question: where does security come from? This video is in Hindi and English.

Big democracy, big surveillance: India's surveillance state

In India, surveillance is on the rise by the state to tackle crime and terrorism, and private companies are eager to meet the demand. 

Pakistan: prospects poor for Taliban talks

The announcement of talks between Islamabad and representatives of the Pakistan Taliban surprised many. Few will however be surprised if they fail.

Extending a hand or raising a fist to the state?

From mobile phones to crowdsourced election monitoring, an in-depth look at how communication technologies are transforming citizen engagement and societal accountability in Southeast Asia.

"Our self-confidence is the main reason for police harassment..."

For adivasis in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, economic exploitation and social degradation go hand in hand. This interview with Madhuri Krishnaswamy of JADS, an adivasi organisation, reveals routine police protection of entrenched power hierarchies – and the political confidence found to fight back.

Grief and rage in India: making violence against women history?

There was uproar in India at the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old student on her way home from the cinema. Can we harness the international attention to this case to demand that the world's leaders commit themselves to a policy of zero tolerance of violence against women in the post-Millennium Development Goals agenda?

A way out of the Afghanistan conundrum

%22Bordering"A comprehensive peace will clearly not be achieved militarily, but how can the warring factions engaged with the complex conflict in Afghanistan be brought into negotiations? Engagement with Alternative Dispute Resolution practices at the regional level offers potential.

Will courage be enough?

%22Bordering"Faced with rising violence in the run-up to the withdrawal of foreign troops, Afghan women’s rights activists fear for the future, Lynne O’Donnell reports from Kabul.

Forgotten woes: Sri Lanka’s neoliberal politics

In light of Commonwealth support for the upcoming Heads of Government Meeting to be held in Colombo this November,  here we are reminded of the dangers of Sri Lanka becoming a model for other governments in the global South to follow.

Why the solution to Afghan state building post-2014 lies in regional diplomacy

Until 2012, there was no comprehensive U.S. strategy on Afghanistan. Additionally, a number of systemic issues hampered the development of the Afghan state and economic gains. After the withdrawal of most U.S. troops in 2014, the only viable option for Afghanistan's development lies in consolidating regional diplomacy.

War crimes and international borders

After war, justice may come late or not at all: the decision to try defendants without them being present suggests the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal is not confident of gaining an extradition order. 

The Commonwealth and Sri Lanka’s disintegrating democracy

While the nation is all set to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) later this year, Sri Lankan democracy is disintegrating, with systematic torture and arbitrary detention increasingly becoming a ‘way of life’.

Professor Ghulam Azam: a flawed conviction and miscarriage of justice

On the basis of a flawed trial bereft of substantial evidence, my father has now been sentenced to 90 years in prison. The Bangladeshi people must decide whether justice for crimes past is really being acheived for a better, more cohesive Bangladesh.

Is Bangladesh spiralling out of control?

The massacre of Hefazat protesters in Dhaka by Bangladeshi security forces, followed by the government’s initial denial and subsequent justification of casualties, raises serious questions about the future security and stability of Bangladesh.

Woolwich and Afghanistan: the connection

An understanding of the link between the shocking murder of a young soldier on a London street and "remote-control" attacks by western states is essential.

Sri Lanka remembers to forget

Celebrations to mark the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war perform the function of collective forgetting. If the country looked back at recommendations made in the past, Sri Lankans might understand better how to go forward.

Sri Lanka's BBS: an old spectre in new garb?

Though interreligious violence in Sri Lanka is not new, the emergence of the well-organized, well-connected Buddhist radical group reflects a broader problem today - the alarming shortage of critical and constructive public debate.

Four years on, genocide continues off the battlefield

On the anniversary of the 26-year civil war, the Sri Lankan state celebrates its 2009 victory while Tamils mark the bloody nadir of the campaign to systematically dismantle the Tamil nation - one which continues today.

The end of Cold Start?

India's development of an offensive military doctrine after the 2001 attack on the Parliament was meant to create a strategic advantage over Pakistan. Has it worked?

Fear of escalation at the LOC

More than 65 years after partition, a mediated resolution to the Kashmir conflict remains illusory. Fear of escalation between nuclear rivals has prevented all-out war - but what will finally lead to peace?

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