The South Asia Channel

India Blocks 2012 Rape Documentary; Top US General Open to Altering Drawdown in Afghanistan; Pakistani Man Found Guilty in NYC

India Blocks 2012 Rape Documentary; Top US General Open to Altering Drawdown in Afghanistan; Pakistani Man Found Guilty in NYC

India

India blocks documentary on 2012 rape

A New Delhi court on Wednesday blocked the airing of a BBC documentary titled “India’s Daughter,” which includes an interview with Mukesh Singh, one of the men accused in the 2012 gang-rape of a young woman in the Indian capital (CNN, WSJ, NDTV). The Indian Home Ministry also said that it will take action against the BBC for broadcasting the documentary in the United Kingdom (ABC). Although the documentary was blocked in India because the rapist’s remarks were “creating an atmosphere of fear and tension,” it was freely available to watch on YouTube on Wednesday (BBC). The government has asked Youtube and other sites in India to remove the video.

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in parliament on Wednesday that the government would “not allow any organization to leverage such an incident and use it for commercial purpose” (NYT). Documentary-maker Leslee Udwin called the government’s decision to ban the airing of the her documentary “foolish,” and said: “I feel as saddened today as I felt when I sat with those rapists… They are trying to silence the voices that are fighting for the rights of women. It is very ill-conceived” (Post). On Dec. 16, 2012, a 23-year-old student was brutally gang-raped and tortured by six men on a moving bus in New Delhi. The woman died of her injuries two weeks later, triggering nationwide protests and drawing massive international media coverage.​

Modi to offer assistance to Indian Ocean island nations

Indian Prime MInister Narendra Modi will offer military and civilian assistance to the Maldives, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Sri Lanka during his visit to these nations next week, according to news reports on Thursday (Reuters, Indian Express). Modi will offer the assistance in an effort to balance China’s influence in the region, which has built highways, power plants, and seaports in these small island nations. A defense official preparing Modi’s trip said: “India has a role as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region… We are providing patrol ships, surveillance radars and ocean mapping for the island states” (Economic Times).

Afghanistan

Top U.S. general in Afghanistan open to altering drawdown

Gen. John F. Campbell, the current commander of the resolute Support Mission and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that he doesn’t yet know what U.S. and Afghan officials can accomplish in the upcoming fighting season and left the door open to altering the plan to remove nearly all of the remaining U.S. troops at the end of the year (Post). Gen. Campbell said: “What I really want to make sure we can do is get through what we call a full fighting season — April through the late-September time frame — focused on train, advise and assist, plus our [counter-terrorism] mission.” He added that if U.S. troop levels drop to 5,500 by the end of the year as planned, it could “potentially take our eyes off focusing on [the mission] when we really need it.” There are currently more than 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan; the White House has backed a plan to pull all but 5,500 out by the end of this year.

Afghan forces kill dozens of militants while searching for hostages

Afghan security forces have killed dozens of militants in an operation aimed at freeing a group of 30 civilian hostages (Reuters). The hostages were abducted from two buses in the souther province of Zabul last week while they were traveling to Kabul. Eyewitnesses said most of the passengers belonged to the ethnic Hazara minority, which was persecuted during the Taliban rule. “The rescue operation is ongoing,” General Abdul Hameed, commander of the 205th Afghan army corps which is operating in the country’s south, told Reuters. Hameed added: “We have killed 48 insurgents and 21 of them are foreign fighters.”

Pakistan

Pakistani man guilty in terror plot

Abid Naseer, a 28-year-old Pakistani man first arrested in 2009 then extradited to the United States in 2013, was found guilty on Wednesday of providing and conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda in a failed bomb plot (Reuters). U.S. prosecutors said Naseer led an al Qaeda cell plotting to bomb a shopping center in Manchester, England, in April 2009. It was one of three plots affiliated al Qaeda cells were working on, along with attacks against the New York City subway system and a Copenhagen newspaper, prosecutors said.

The trial at a federal court in Brooklyn featured spies, evidence from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abottabad, and the defendant’s own questioning of a co-conspirator (WSJ). Naseer, acting as his own lawyer and assisted by a court-appointed attorney, portrayed himself as a moderate Muslim who had been falsely accused. The jury reached the verdict Wednesday just one day after beginning deliberations.

Blast outside Karachi court

An explosion occurred outside a city court in Karachi on Thursday afternoon, causing panic in the area but no casualties (Dawn, ET). While some reports say that the explosion was the result of authorities negligently leaving behind some explosives in the area after clearing the space a few days earlier, others say that the blast was a grenade. The bombe disposal squad was dispatched to look for any other explosives that might be in the area. The explosion came just one day after Syed Ali Hasnain Shah Bukhari, a Sindh High Court (SHC) advocate, was gunned down in front of his house in what appeared to be a targeted attack. Legal proceedings at all courts in the city, the SHC, city courts, Malir Courts, the anti-terrorism courts, and other special tribunals, were suspended on Wednesday as a result of the incident.

— Emily Schneider and Neeli Shah

Edited by Peter Bergen

INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images