The South Asia Channel
Greenpeace India Accuses Government of ‘Strangulating’ Funds; Four Sentenced to Death in Mob Killing of Afghan Woman; Pakistan’s Military Accuses India of Backing Terrorism
India Greenpeace India accuses government of ‘strangulating’ funds Greenpeace India accused the Indian government of “strangulating” the organization of its funds on Tuesday, and said that it was staring at an “imminent” shutdown (Indian Express, Economic Times, BBC). Greenpeace India said in a statement: “Greenpeace India has one month left to fight for its survival ...
Greenpeace India accuses government of ‘strangulating’ funds
Greenpeace India accused the Indian government of “strangulating” the organization of its funds on Tuesday, and said that it was staring at an “imminent” shutdown (Indian Express, Economic Times, BBC). Greenpeace India said in a statement: “Greenpeace India has one month left to fight for its survival with the threat of an imminent shutdown looming large. The NGO has been left with funds for staff salaries and office costs that will last for just about a month” (Livemint). The organization further said that the Indian Home Ministry’s decision to block its domestic bank accounts may result in the loss of 340 employees, and also a “sudden death” for its campaigns which address issues like “sustainable development, environmental justice and clean, affordable energy.” The Indian government blocked Greenpeace last month, after accusing it of working against the nation’s economic interests and violating tax laws.
India to sign port deal with Iran
India plans to build a port in southeast Iran, despite warnings from the United States to not rush into any deals with Iran, according to news reports on Tuesday (NDTV, Times of India, Livemint). Last week, the United States cautioned countries against strengthening ties with Iran before an agreement — between world powers and Iran on the latter’s nuclear program — was finalized. India and Iran’s plan to develop a port at Chabahar, on the Gulf of Oman, had made little progress because of Western sanctions on Iran. Reuters reported: “Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari will travel on a day-long tour to Iran to sign a memorandum of understanding for development of Chabahar port” (Reuters). The port will allow India to save on freight time and transport costs to the Gulf and Central Asia by a third, and will open a route to Afghanistan by circumventing Pakistan.
Bollywood star sentenced to five years in hit-and-run case
A Mumbai court sentenced Bollywood superstar Salman Khan to five years in prison for culpable homicide for the death of a homeless man in a 2002 hit-and-run case, according to news reports on Wednesday (BBC, WSJ, CNN, Reuters). Khan, 49, was accused of killing one and injuring four people as his car ran over a group of people sleeping on a sidewalk in Mumbai. The actor, who has starred in more than 80 movies, was also accused of driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, and running away from the scene. Khan had pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and further said that his chauffeur was driving the car. While Khan was sent directly to the Arthur Road jail, Mumbai’s largest and oldest prison, his lawyer was expected to apply for bail and appeal the conviction. According to trade analysts, the Indian film industry stands to lose more than $31 million if Khan is imprisoned.
Bonus Read: “Afghanistan is Too Dangerous for Congressional Visits,” Tim Mak (DailyBeast)
Afghan judge sentences four to death for mob killing of woman
An Afghan judge sentenced four men to death on Wednesday for the mob killing of a 27-year-old woman falsely accused of burning a Koran in Kabul (Reuters, NYT, TOLO). Eight defendants were sentenced to 16 years in prison for participating in the attack, but 18 others were found not guilty by Judge Safiullah Mujadidi. The four men sentenced to death were convicted due in part to video footage of the attack that was captured on mobile phones and played during the five-day trial. Some of the defendants posted video footage on social media and bragged about their part in beating and kicking the woman before setting her body on fire. Nineteen police officers were also on trial for failing to stop the attack, but it is unclear when those verdicts would be reached.
Drones neutralized Taliban targets, say officials
Foreign drone strikes over the past week have successfully neutralized a number of Taliban hideouts in the eastern parts of Afghanistan, officials said on Wednesday (TOLO). Mohammad Zaman, commander of 201st Selab Corps, said that the drones were especially effective in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, noting that the strikes lower the risk of civilian and security force member casualties. The Nangarhar provincial police chief, Fazl Ahmad Shirzad, said that drone strikes killed at least 30 Taliban members in the past week.
Pakistan’s military accuses India of backing terrorism
Pakistan’s military accused India’s main intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of backing terrorism in Pakistan in a statement on Wednesday (Reuters). The rare public criticism came after a meeting of the army’s top commanders at the military’s headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday. “The conference also took serious notice of RAW’s involvement in whipping up terrorism in Pakistan,” the army said in a statement after the meeting. While private critiques of India’s involvement are often made, it is rare for the Pakistani military to accuse India’s spy agency in an official statement. A Pakistani official with knowledge of the commanders’ meeting told Reuters that they believed India is supporting separatists in Baluchistan province and that “there is documentary proof. All evidence is there and [they] will bring it open soon.” India denies interference in Pakistan, but accuses Pakistan of supporting militants who launch attacks in India (RFE/RL).
Australia urges Pakistan, India to resolve Kashmir dispute
The Foreign Minister of Australia Julie Bishop arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday for an official two-day visit to Pakistan (Dawn). After meeting with the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Bishop addressed a joint news conference and said that Australia will encourage both Pakistan and India to resolve their longstanding dispute of Jammu and Kashmir, although she made it clear that her country does not want to take sides and would prefer a bilateral resolution (ET). Bishop is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif tomorrow.
— Emily Schneider and Neeli Shah
Edited by Peter Bergen