Studies

Studies

INTOLERANCE, CORRUPTION, NEPOTISM AND TERRORISM IN SOUTH ASIA

By: Ariya Vidyasekera
Former Coordinator of AAPSO Secretariat

The body politics of the countries in South Asian Region is in deep crisis. This situation is primarily an internal creation with a minute segment of external seepage. Although all these countries have gone through a "democratic" transformation; short-sighted approaches of political parties and leaders have created a distortion of "democracy" itself which had let to this crisis. In this turbulent world with the spread of terrorism; ethnic, religious and sectarian conflicts, South Asia cannot remain unaffected.

The biggest country in the region - India, since it became independent in 1947 remain a multi-party democracy. On the other hand, the territory which carved out from the undivided India as Pakistan had been volatile and ruled by the military for a considerable length of time. So is Bangladesh which suffered terrible genocide during its freedom struggle against Pakistan and yet to be stabilized. Sri-Lanka remained a democracy since its independence in 1948, but it too is not free from internal conflict. For nearly 30 years it suffered an internal civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which was considered a ferocious "terrorist" movement setup as a political entity for a seperate Tamil state in Sri-Lanka. It was defeated in 2009 and peace was achieved after a long suffering.

Bangladesh - the eastern wing of Pakistan revolted against the military domination by West Pakistan ultimately leading to a ferocious war of liberation ended in 1971 forming an independent sovereign state of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a democratic state but internal rivalry with the remnants of all Pakistan supporters were not completely eliminated. On the other hand hardcore Muslim funder-mentalists continued clandestinely to disrupt the internal peace. The minority Hindu community always was targeted including ethnic and tribal people. Although it is a homemade terrorist group, it continued to receive arms and other assistance from outside specially from Pakistan. According to information the recent attack and killing of over 20 foreigners was a planned conspiracy, as a result the situation in the country is tens and the anti government forces are doing all possible harm to create confusion and instability to the country.

Attack on the Royinga Muslim minority is the most serious crime perpetrated in Myanmar. The Buddhist majority in Myanmar consider the Royngar community as migrated from Bangladesh and denied any assistance to them even by the Myanmar government.

They are not provided with citizenship and the villages are burnt down and given to live in refugee camps set by the UN. It is surprising that even the democratic leader like Aung ang Tsukye remain silent on the issue. Behind all this is the consolidation of political power of the different political parties in the country. Unfortunately the poor Royngar people remained helpless and suffer immensely.

Nepal has ultimately achieved internal peace and democracy is established but the wrangling among the political leaders for power prevent a stable government to sustain. As no single party has a workable majority, governments are short-lived there by the country's progress is retarded. In addition, there is a formidable minority which still did not accept the new constitution of the country and continue to agitate.

Bhutan, a small land-locked country bordering India and Nepal tries to keep their "nation pure" by expelling the Nepali migrants now living in refugee camps in neighboring India. One cannot envisage any settlement even in the near future.

Both Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to suffer with suicide bombing by the extremists including "talaban". For the people of this countries peace is only a dream.

The largest country India – although a stable democratic country, the internal situation continue to deteriorate on to the "Hindu oriented' policy of the present government. Intolerance against the Muslims and other minority groups continue regularly. The Cow slaughter is not only banned but even a person who posses cow meat could be punished. The saddest part of this is that the extremist Hindu elements have taken the law in to their own hands and openly attack the people who consume Beef. Only in the state of Kerala and West Bengal that cow slaughter and beef eating is not banned. The lawlessness has increased owing to this extremist policy.

On the other hand poor Dhalit people suffer immensely. It is they who are called upon to remove the carcasses of dead cows in the street and contractors use them to skin the dead animals for hide. But the extremist Hindu attack them physically against this and a number of Dalit people had been killed. This has led to a nationwide Dalit organized against this crime. Dalits venerate late Dr.B.R. Ambedkar the veteran Dalit leader who framed the Indian constitution. Today the "dead Ambedkar" has emerged more powerful than the living Amedkar and the movement is getting strong.

On the other hand Kashmir which is a burning issue between India and Pakistan had led to organize killing by the extremist Muslim youth and attacks by the Indian military. Now the UN is trying to withdraw its peace mission in Kashmir.

All these countries in the region suffer from internal conflicts precisely owing to intolerance widespread corruption, nepotism and religious persecution. In India the Hindu hegamonism uses its power to torture and suppress ethnic and religious minorities. In Pakistan and Bangladesh it is the minority Hindu's who are at the receiving end. In Sri-Lanka, although killing does not take place the majoritarian Sinhala Buddhist sectarian leadership continue to harass the minority in order to protect the vote bank.

In reality intolerance, corruption, nepotism and ethnicity are all interconnected, practiced by political leaders to retain power.

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