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“गीता” : एक ‘मानवीय ग्रंथ’ … एक ‘समग्र जीवन दर्शन’ … व ‘मानव समाज की अप्रतिम धरोहर’

            "गीता” का शाब्दिक अर्थ केवल गीत अर्थात् जो गाया जा सके से लिया जाता है । किन्तु आतंरिक रूप से इसका अर्थ है कि जिस...

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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Nepal clamps down on schools teaching Indian subjects


Nepal clamps down on schools teaching Indian subjects


Kathmandu: In a move that will affect nearly 6,000 students, Nepal has ordered five private schools that teach Indian studies and subjects, to stop taking new admissions.

The Ministry of Education has asked five schools conducting examinations under India's Central Board of Secondary Education, not to admit new students for the new academic year, official daily Gorkhapatra reported quoting District Education Officer Baikuntha Aryal.

Those violating the government's instruction will be penalised, warned Mr Aryal.

The schools running under Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) system are Modern Indian School, Rai School, Alok Vidyashra, Rupy's International School and Chadbagh School, according to the government daily.

The education ministry said it has already sent a letter to the concerned schools in this regard saying that they cannot function with CBSE system as they were not given permission to do so.

Indian Embassy officials were not available for comment in this regard as the embassy remained closed today.

The decision of the education ministry will affect nearly 6,000 students who are enrolled in these schools.

There are around 14 schools which are running under the Indian educational system.

Indian government grants scholarships to more than 2,000 Nepalese students studying various subjects annually. Recently, the DAV Sushil Kedia Higher Secondary School, which is also run under CBSE, has been targeted with violent attacks by students' and teachers' unions affiliated to the CPN-Maoist, the breakaway faction of the Unified CPN-Maoist, apparently for teaching Indian subjects.

Last year, CPN-Maoist had also forcibly banned the screening of Indian movies and entry of vehicles with Indian number plates into Nepal.

The organisations have claimed that using the Indian educational system is against the national interest of Nepal. However, there are many private schools using American and British Education System in Nepal
Read more »

India rejects TN resolution to declare Lanka ‘unfriendly’


India rejects TN resolution to declare Lanka ‘unfriendly’

In an interview to a private news channel, foreign minister Salman Khurshid gave an emphatic "no" to all the demands made by the Tamil Nadu assembly.
The UPA government rejected the Tamil Nadu assembly resolution asking Sri Lanka to be declared an "unfriendly" state. In an interview to a private news channel, foreign minister Salman Khurshid gave an emphatic "no" to all the demands made by the Tamil Nadu assembly.

In a unanimous resolution, the Tamil Nadu assembly said there should be a referendum on Eelam, economic sanctions be imposed on Sri Lanka and it be declared an unfriendly state. Khurshid clarified that this was also the view of all Tamil ministers in the UPA government, including finance minister P Chidambaram.

Tamil Nadu's antics on Colombo have been the cause of deep embarrassment to the central government, impacting India's foreign policy. By supporting what is essentially a separatist movement in a neighbouring country, Tamil Nadu's politicians have undermined India's own stand regarding cross-border interference in domestic affairs. This is likely to have some impact on Lanka's relations with India as well.

Khurshid added that though disappointed the Mahinda Rajapakse government would understand the compulsions that led the Tamil Nadu government to refuse permission to Lankan players and officials to participate in the upcoming IPL games to be played in Chennai.

Will India support the holding of CHOGM in Sri Lanka? Khurshid said as of now, India was party to the collective decision of Commonwealth governments to hold the summit of the 54-nation grouping in the emerald isles. But he also indicated that the government had an open mind about the possibility that this decision could be collectively changed.

Khurshid referred to the growing concern that regional or domestic politics were influencing India's foreign policy, particularly with regard to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Italy and Pakistan. Describing this as his personal "challenge", Khurshid said this did not in any way prevent New Delhi from doing what it thought was right.
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Poorest nations say yes to emissions cuts


Poorest nations say yes to emissions cuts

In what could be a far-reaching move, the world’s poorest countries say they are now prepared to commit themselves to binding cuts in their emissions of greenhouse gases.
The move has the potential to quicken the pace of the glacially-slow UN negotiations, which have for years been trying to agree an effective way to cut emissions in order to avoid runaway climate change.

The Group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is a major negotiating bloc at the UN talks, with its member states including 12% of the world’s people..

Whether its willingness to accept cuts will in fact hasten the birth of a new and comprehensive climate agreement will now depend largely on the good faith and commitment of the richer countries.

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Quamrul Chowdury is a lead climate negotiator of the LDC Group. He told the Climate News Network: “Prakash Mathema, the current Chair of the LDCs in the climate negotiations, has a new mantra: ‘Follow us’.
“That means the 49 LDCs under his leadership are set to act in the process as a very pro-active group. They will lead by example – by doing. The LDCs are no longer waiting for others to act.

“I think the LDCs are now for low carbon pathways for all. They are even ready to go first in helping to cut back global greenhouse gas emissions, though they are the ones least responsible for increasing those emissions.”

Asked whether this meant that the LDCs now accepted the need for binding emissions cuts by all signatories to the international climate treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, and not just by industrialised countries, Chowdury said it did.

“All countries should commit [to accepting cuts], but developing countries’ National Appropriate Mitigation Actions [NAMAs] should be supported”, he said.

NAMAs are policies and actions which countries undertake as part of their commitment to reduce emissions. The term, developed by the UN negotiators, recognizes that different countries may act in different ways based on equity and on their shared but differing responsibilities and abilities – in other words, the contribution they have made to climate change.

NAMAs do not involve governments making the sort of binding commitments which the LDCs say they will now accept. They do stress the importance of financial help from developed to developing countries to help them to reduce emissions.

Mr Chowdury’s statement that the LDCs now accept that all countries should make binding emissions cuts is a significant diplomatic step forward.

It has been the developing world’s refusal to accept that it is responsible for helping to solve a problem it did not cause that has allowed some industrialised countries, notably the US and Australia, to refuse to commit themselves to internationally-agreed cuts.

Chowdury added: “The LDCs are for raising ambitions over climate change mitigation, because mitigation is the ultimate adaptation. And adaptation has its limits.

“The cost of adaptation is also rising every day as the most industrialised countries are not slashing their emissions, except for some of the European good boys. But that is not enough.

“Major emitters need to scale up their efforts. They also need to do more to stabilise the global temperature well below 2°C [a widely accepted global threshold].

“LDCs are also doing some adaptation, and they are showing global leadership here. Bangladesh, Nepal and Mozambique are shining cases of successful on-the-ground adaptation.

“Those cases should be scaled up and replicated. Others can learn from the LDCs how to face climate adversities day in and day out.”

Mr Chowdury’s statement goes to the heart of one of the most divisive issues in the negotiations: who should move first by cutting emissions?

A number of developed countries argue that they will make cuts only when the LDCs do so, despite the fact that it is industrialisation and development that have largely caused the human contribution to climate change.

Until now the LDCs have insisted that they should not be asked to accept binding cuts because they have contributed so few emissions to the total now in the atmosphere.

Prakash Mathema’s mantra, urging the LDCs to set an example others can follow, could alter the terms of the entire debate.
Read more »

Saturday, 30 March 2013

U.N.: End violence over Bangladeshi court


U.N.: End violence over Bangladeshi court


DHAKA, Bangladesh, March 29 (UPI) -- U.N. human rights experts Friday called for an end to violence in Bangladesh that is tied to court decisions concerning the country's war for independence.
Since February, large-scale demonstrations have been held in response to decisions of the Bangladeshi International Crimes Tribunal, which was established in 2010 to try people accused of committing atrocities, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1971 war.
In recent weeks, 88 people have been killed and hundreds injured in clashes between security forces and activists, the independent experts said in a release.
"I call upon the authorities in Bangladesh to ensure prompt, impartial and effective investigations of all killings committed irrespective of whether they were committed by a state or a non-state actor," said Christof Heyns, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions.
The U.N. Human Rights Council, which has headquarters in Geneva, also indicated there have been "worrying reports on attacks against members of the Hindu community, their homes and places of worship, as well as against journalists."
Pablo de Greiff, special rapporteur on the promotion of truth and justice, said, "Governments should strive to achieve justice for victims of past human rights violations and restore trust in the rule of law including through criminal prosecutions."
In February, U.N. independent experts had expressed concern about possible non-compliance with fair trial and due process during tribunal proceedings, including the imposition of death sentences.
The unpaid independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council to examine and report on specific human rights themes.

Read more »

U.N.: End violence over Bangladeshi court


U.N.: End violence over Bangladeshi court


DHAKA, Bangladesh, March 29 (UPI) -- U.N. human rights experts Friday called for an end to violence in Bangladesh that is tied to court decisions concerning the country's war for independence.
Since February, large-scale demonstrations have been held in response to decisions of the Bangladeshi International Crimes Tribunal, which was established in 2010 to try people accused of committing atrocities, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1971 war.
In recent weeks, 88 people have been killed and hundreds injured in clashes between security forces and activists, the independent experts said in a release.
"I call upon the authorities in Bangladesh to ensure prompt, impartial and effective investigations of all killings committed irrespective of whether they were committed by a state or a non-state actor," said Christof Heyns, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions.
The U.N. Human Rights Council, which has headquarters in Geneva, also indicated there have been "worrying reports on attacks against members of the Hindu community, their homes and places of worship, as well as against journalists."
Pablo de Greiff, special rapporteur on the promotion of truth and justice, said, "Governments should strive to achieve justice for victims of past human rights violations and restore trust in the rule of law including through criminal prosecutions."
In February, U.N. independent experts had expressed concern about possible non-compliance with fair trial and due process during tribunal proceedings, including the imposition of death sentences.
The unpaid independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council to examine and report on specific human rights themes.

Read more »

Obama says Holy Days a time for renewal



Obama says Holy Days a time for renewal

WASHINGTON -- Easter and Passover is a special and sacred time for millions of Americans to reflect on their common values, President Obama said Saturday.
In his weekly address to the nation, Obama noted the Christian and Jewish holidays afford people an opportunity to take a break from their "busy and noisy lives" and "slow down and spend some quiet moments in prayer and reflection."
"This week, Jewish families gathered around the Seder table, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt and the triumph of faith over oppression," Obama said. "And this weekend, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and I will join Christians around the world to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hopeful promise of Easter.
"As Christians, my family and I remember the incredible sacrifice Jesus made for each and every one of us -- how he took on the sins of the world and extended the gift of salvation. And we recommit ourselves to following his example here on Earth.
"To loving our lord and savior. To loving our neighbors. And to seeing in everyone, especially 'the least of these,' as a child of God."
The president noted "those values are at the heart not just of the Christian faith; but of all faiths. From Judaism to Islam; Hinduism to Sikhism; there echoes a powerful call to serve our brothers and sisters. To keep in our hearts a deep and abiding compassion for all. And to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves."
He called it "the common humanity that binds us together."
"And as Americans, we're united by something else, too: faith in the ideals that lie at the heart of our founding; and the belief that, as part of something bigger than ourselves, we have a shared responsibility to look out for our fellow citizens," Obama said.
"So this weekend, I hope we're all able to take a moment to pause and reflect. To embrace our loved ones. To give thanks for our blessings. To rededicate ourselves to interests larger than our own."
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No action so far against Zul Noordin ‘because he is Muslim’, says Hindu Sangam chief


No action so far against Zul Noordin ‘because he is Muslim’, says Hindu Sangam chief



Hindu Sangam said today a video of Zulkifli (2nd right), making what the opposition has said are vicious attacks against Hinduism, had originally surfaced in 2011. — file picKUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — A umbrella body for Hindus said today that it had previously complained about apparent insults to Hindus made by independent lawmaker Datuk Zulkifli Noordin, but no action was taken “because he is a Muslim.”
Hindu Sangam said today a video of Zulkifli, making what the opposition has said are vicious attacks against Hinduism, had originally surfaced in 2011. 
“At that point in time we already told the government, but they are reluctant to take action I think because he is Muslim and vice president of Perkasa,” Hindu Sangam president Datuk R S Mohan Shan told The Malaysian Insider today.
“He’s actually condemning the Hindu religion. We want the government to look into it again,” he said.
Zulkifli, who is also the Independent MP for Kulim-Bandar Baharu, is shown in the video delivering a religious lecture in which he questioned a Hindu trader on why Hindu gods did not prevent the latter’s shop from being flooded, and the purity of the Ganges River.

“I have been to Sungai Ganga before. How can you say it’s pure? There are chicken corpses and small sticks floating about,” Zulkifli was recorded as saying in a video titled “Zulkifli Noordin (PERKASA) menghina agama hindu” uploaded on YouTube yesterday.
Mohan said that branches of Hindu Sangam, other non-governmental organisations and Hindu temples had in 2011 lodged police reports against Zulkifli over the video and called for government action in a press statement, but had received no response.
“It went very quiet after a while,” he said.
In a press statement today, Hindu Sangam said: “Malaysia Hindu Sangam vehemently condemns Zulkifli Noordin for being a racial and religious bigot and strongly urges the Authorities to take immediate action against him under the Sedition Act 1948 (Revised 1969).”
Mohan also told The Malaysian Insider that Hindu Sangam would ask the government to remove the allegedly insulting video from YouTube.
PKR vice president N surendran has also called for Zulkifli to be taken to task for his actions, as reported by PAS organ Harakah Daily today
“We call upon the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General to immediately investigate and charge Zulkifli Noordin under section 298A,” added the lawyer, referring to Section 298A of the Penal Code that prohibits actions that cause disharmony, feelings of enmity and hatred.
The Cabinet interfaith committee said yesterday that it avoids publicly censuring individuals who spark religious tension so as to prevent giving them further publicity.
Zulkifli became an independent MP critical of the opposition when he was dismissed from PKR on March 6, 2010 over a police report he lodged against PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad.
Zulkifli had taken issue with Khalid’s statement describing a Selangor enactment prohibiting non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” as “outdated”.
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MIC leaders tell Zul Noordin to ‘shut up’ and apologise


MIC leaders tell Zul Noordin to ‘shut up’ and apologise


KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — MIC leaders told Datuk Zulkifli Noordin today to “shut up”, apologise and retract his remarks that allegedly disparaged the Hindu religion. 
The Independent Kulim-Bandar Baharu MP was recorded in a video uploaded yesterday on YouTube as questioning the purity of the Ganges River in India, which the Hindus consider sacred, claiming that chicken carcasses were floating in it.
“If you don’t have in-depth knowledge, you must shut up and keep quiet,” MIC central working committee member Datuk T. Rajagopalu told The Malaysian Insider today.
“He’s not fit to be an MP. He’s a half-baked lawyer and he’s not a true Muslim man. A true Muslim man would never condemn other religions,” he added.
Rajagopalu said Zulkifli, who is also the Perkasa vice-president and a Sharia lawyer, should read up on Hinduism and the Ganges River before commenting.
MIC vice-president Datuk S. K. Devamany demanded that Zulkifli apologise and withdraw his remarks.  
“How dare he do this?” said Devamany.
“He’s a very irresponsible member of Parliament. We’re trying to create harmony and peace and the concept of 1 Malaysia, and trying to engage all communities, and harmonise everybody’s feelings...He should retract it and be sensitive to the needs of the people, the Hindus,” he added.
Hindu Sangam said earlier today that the video of Zulkifli’s remarks, which the opposition has labelled as vicious attacks against Hinduism, had originally surfaced in 2011.
The Hindu group said that it has previous complained about Zulkifli, but believed that no action was taken against him because he was a Muslim and a member of Perkasa.
Zulkifli was shown in the video delivering a religious lecture, in which he questioned a Hindu trader on why Hindu gods did not prevent the man’s shop from being flooded.
He also appeared to mock what was described as a rush to buy up the broken idols.
“Many Indians are fighting to buy statues of the elephant god, even the one with its trunk broken off… I asked him why they were buying this god, [when] the trunk is broken. He said, ‘Never mind, we’ll mend it,’” said the lawmaker who was sacked from PKR.
MIC central working committee member P. Kamalanathan condemned Zulkifli’s remarks “in the harshest manner possible.”
“Our diverse country does not need such sensitive provocation which is against the lofty 1 Malaysia ideal of the government,” Kamalanathan, who is also the Hulu Selangor MP, told The Malaysian Insider.
Indian group the National Indian-Rights Action Team (NIAT) lodged a police report against Zulkifli at the Dang Wangi police station here today.
“His remarks were very insulting. His statement can incite religious tension between the Muslims and Hindus,” said NIAT chairman Datuk Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim Al-Haj in a statement today.
“YB Zulkifli’s statement is also seditious. This report was lodged so that investigations can be conducted immediately and for appropriate action to be taken against YB Zulkifli,” he added, pointing out that Section 298A of the Penal Code prohibited actions that cause disharmony, feelings of enmity and hatred.
Human rights group Suaram also censured Zulkifli earlier today and urged voters to reject him in Election 2013 that is expected to be held in weeks. 
This is the second incident of the year in which Hindus were the apparent target.
Earlier this year, columnist Dr Ridhuan Tee Abdullah upset MIC central working committee member S. Vell Paari after allegedly insulting the Hindu community in an article published in Malay-language daily Sinar Harian on February 18.
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Uproar Over Tibetan Self-immolator's Secret Cremation in Nepal


tibet-nepal-burn-305.gif

Uproar Over Tibetan Self-immolator's Secret Cremation in Nepal

Authorities in Nepal have secretly cremated a Tibetan Buddhist monk who self-immolated in the country’s capital Kathmandu in a protest calling for freedom from Chinese rule for Tibet, Tibetan advocacy and rights groups said, suggesting Beijing had pressured the Nepal government.
Members of the large Tibetan community in Nepal had asked the government to hand over the body to them so that a proper funeral could be conducted for him but authoritiese insisted that the body could only be claimed by the monk's family as required by law.
The government, according to reports, said none of his family members had come forward to claim his body and had rejected all requests by the Tibetan community to collect the body.
It is not known whether the monk, who came to Nepal a few weeks before his self-immolation death on Feb. 13, had left any relatives behind in Tibet.
The monk, whose identity has not been confirmed, was cremated “in secrecy in the middle of the night” on March 25 without the observance of religious or cultural rituals, according to sources in Nepal speaking on condition of anonymity.
Five policemen brought the charred body from the Teaching Hospital to Pashupati Argyaghat, the cremation grounds of the Hindu Pashupatinath temple, for cremation around 10:30 to 11:00 p.m. that night, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The police team instructed four cremation workers who normally deal with unclaimed or unidentified bodies to cremate the remains.
One of the policemen stayed to watch until the burning was complete and the ashes disposed of hours later, the sources said.
‘A betrayal’
The International Campaign for Tibet, a Washington-based advocacy group, said the monk’s secret cremation followed weeks of “intense negotiations” by Tibetan and Nepalese community leaders.
According to one Tibetan source, the decision by the Nepalese authorities was made “at the highest levels” and is likely to reflect ongoing Chinese pressure on the Nepalese authorities targeted at the Tibetan community, the ICT said in a statement on Thursday.
In Tibet, the Chinese authorities have adopted increasingly aggressive measures to prevent Tibetans from carrying out prayer ceremonies after Tibetans who have self-immolated. A total of 114 Tibetans have burned themselves in protest against Chinese rule in Tibetan-populated areas in China.
Tsering Jampa, Executive-Director of ICT Europe, said the secret cremation of the Tibetan monk in Nepal  was a “betrayal” of the Tibetan community who had been involved in dialogue over the issue.
“It reflects badly on the Nepalese authorities that they chose to dispose of [his] body in this undignified manner, in conditions of such secrecy, he said.
‘Litmus test’
Tenzin Dorjee, the executive director of the New York-based Students for a Free Tibet, had called the monk’s case a “litmus test for Nepal's democracy, its humanity, and its sovereignty.”
“Beijing's long arm of oppression not only deprived [him] of political freedom in his life, but it also stole his final opportunity for spiritual liberation in his death. In facilitating this injustice, Nepal has allowed itself to be used as an instrument of tyranny.”
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Only the Feet Know if the Shoes Fit


Only the Feet Know if the Shoes Fit



china-xi-cppcc-march-2013.jpg
Hu Jintao (L) and Xi Jinping (R) applaud at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 12, 2013.
 AFP
Xi Jinping's remarks about shoes have surpassed Deng Xiaoping's cat metaphor.
Recently, I have heard people say that the new generation of politicians isn't a patch on the old guard when it comes to social and political philosophy, but that's not true. An example of this is the fact that "shoe theory" trumps "cat theory" by far.

The existence and popularity of cat theory is easy to see, but its popularity could have something to do with not biting the hand that feeds one, and so it can't be taken as a benchmark of truth.
No one in the world can tell the difference between cat theory and "might makes right." Cat theory became the theoretical basis for the military suppression [of the 1989 pro-democracy movement] on June 4.

[Xi Jinping's remark:] "You only know if the shoes fit by wearing them yourself" means that, in the course of a nation's development, only its own people can really speak out about that country. In this recent remark by our new president, there is an abiding hidden meaning, which is worthy of our attention.

Its existence and popularity are every bit as strong as that of cat theory; in some ways it is more advanced. It is rich in implications about what it is possible to know, and how we know things. Most importantly, it is a humanitarian and sociopolitical philosophy.
I should say that this isn't an isolated concept. About 10 days ago, Xi Jinping made a conclusive analysis of "the China dream," and we can put these two ideas together to extract their true meaning.
Who, or what, is in the best position to say whether shoes fit or not?
The feet, first and foremost. Not the head, and particularly not the mouth, with its pronouncements that can be both suitable and inappropriate. The feet are the best qualified to speak on this, not the head or the mouth.
There are, of course, two feet, and that which suits the left foot might not fit the right. There are 10 toes on the two feet, and that which works for one toe might cause great pain to the other nine.
The right to speak out
As for whether the Chinese political system suits the Chinese people, we can use the above metaphor to work out that what suits a particular leader won't necessarily suit tens of millions of ordinary people.
That which suits a billionaire won't necessarily be right for the penniless, and that which worked for Party elder Wang Zhen, who was denounced by [Xi's father] Xi Zhongxun, won't necessarily be good for our Tibetan and Uyghur compatriots.
What seems fine to a legal illiterate won't be good for Liu Xiaobo or Ai Weiwei; and what is convenient for the propagation of the main theme tune won't go down well with intellectuals, lawyers, or scientists. That is why President Xi told us with passion that only the people have the right to speak out, and that the China dream is the dream of her people.

Some say that Xi really wanted to make it clear to foreigners that they shouldn't comment on China's business. I have never had the honor of meeting him, so it's hard not to take him literally, but as far as I know, the quality that other people cannot know is how well the shoes fit, not how pretty they are, or how clean.
And I know for sure that all of the old revolutionaries, including Xi Zhongxun, were easily capable of picking holes in current events in other countries.
I'm sure this is has been, and still is, a sound familiar to the president's ears. To permit oneself to comment on other countries without allowing others to comment on China goes against Marxism, and against China's particular version of it: "Do as you would be done by."

So I think that President and General Secretary Xi Jinping's comments about shoes and about the Chinese dream were intended to promote the expression of public opinion, not as a rallying call for people to conform to the needs of the leadership.
This is my humble opinion, but it has yet to stand the test of time.
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Friday, 29 March 2013

The politics of victimhood in Bangladesh







The politics of victimhood in Bangladesh

"The fact that the government and media in Bangladesh have refused to allow the stories of so many women, civilians and minorities to be heard is deeply worrying," says author [EPA]
Earlier this week, Bangladesh marked its national day. It ought to have been a day for joy, marking the maturing of a nation which is now just over four decades old. But 40 years on from the bloody war of 1971, which led to the independence of the nation, its events still dominate the national narrative and continue to polarise its population.
The past victims of the war are still far from justice and the number of those who are victims of injustice as a result of the ongoing conflict is also rapidly growing.
What is most challenging in resolving today's tensions is how all of these victims - women and minorities in particular - are being manipulated to serve political narratives, and thereby losing the opportunity for true justice to be served from crimes past and injustices present.  
No right thinking individual can do anything but support the pursuit of justice on behalf of the victims. It is no surprise then that the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) - convened to try alleged war criminals - has generated such emotion on both sides: those who believe these are the perpetrators and those who believe they are being targeted because they are opposition.
Following the life sentence of Jamaat-e-Islami's Abdul Kader Molla on January 5, protesters filled Shahbag crossing in Dhaka, calling for death sentences of the 11 opposition members on trial at the ICT.
On February 28, the ICT delivered an execution verdict for JI leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedi. As of March 8, Odhikar - a human rights organisation based in Bangladesh - has reported at least 143 dead and thousands injured. According to other sources, these numbers have reached 165 and 3,828 respectively.
A majority of the casualties, over 90 percent, include civilians. Unfortunately in times of crisis, especially in times of war, women and children suffer the most, despite their significant lack of involvement in the initiation of conflict. Bangladesh's women, children and minorities have been losers, in the independence war of 1971, but, more recently, now.
Shahbag is not Tahrir 
Shahbag has captured the international imagination, as it has been painted as the successor of Tahrir Square. But it is not entirely clear if the comparison stands.
There has been much discussion regarding thesignificant presence of women in the Shahbag protests. Greater numbers of female voices in the public sphere is generally a good thing.Tahrir protests were a popular movement against government tyranny. Here the protests are in line with government policy. They are calling for blood, the blood of opposition figures being put on trial and sentenced as part of the controversial International War Crimes Tribunal.
In the case of Shahbag, the presence of women was to be expected as some have argued, given the fact that many women were raped during the 1971 war.
In fact, the government, the general media and Shahbag protesters put the number of rapes committed by the Pakistani army and their local collaborators during the war somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000, but is countered by some academics that the numbers are not supported by evidence.
The available evidence, according to Sarmila Bose, supports the reports of the occurrence of rape - a terrible enough occurrence - but can make no definitive claims about the number of victims or the perpetrators.
The perpetrators cannot be surmised, as per the available evidence, to be exclusively members of the Pakistan army or their "collaborators". In fact, many women were victims of Bengali mobs of militant nationalists.
Exaggerations arguably trivialise the victims' suffering by implying that their actual suffering is not noteworthy on its own. Many writers, including Nayanika Mukherjee and Naeem Mohaiemen, disagree vehemently with Bose's methodology and conclusions and argue that her work is biased in favour of the Pakistani army.
What some of these writers have allowed however, like Afsan Chowdhury and Yasmin Saikia, is that the discussion on these rape victims needs to cross political and national boundaries.           
In an article on 1971, Saikia mentions that she could find no information on women in the archives and libraries in Bangladesh. She did hear about these women in the media though - as a nameless group of 200,000-plus women. Otherwise they were "tellingly absent even though [they] were used by politicians to mobilise anger against Pakistani enemies decades later".
Saikia argues that this silence of women and their stories, especially when it does not support the political rhetoric of the ruling government is dangerous. Women are completely erased in the political narrative and their cases have not been investigated or verified. They have merely been forced into silence by men and institutions and victimised, as they were prior in a war fought and controlled by men.
Given the unification of protesters around the trial of the alleged war criminals, an indignant focus on the rape cases is clear. However, issues with verification and failure to produce evidence for many reported cases is troubling, as it echoes the international criticisms and scandal surrounding the ICT by the Shahbag protesters.
Yesterday's female victims, today's political pawns
When women's stories and the truth of their suffering are neglected, we need to ask: are the victims of 1971 being used as a political means?
By not examining the occurrences of rape in the war of 1971 seriously, the government and the protesters transform multitudes of women into mere bodies and abuse the memory of the victims as a political tool.

Unfortunately, more recent abuses of women's rights have been selectively ignored, though they focus strongly on the figures circulated by the government and the media of the rape victims of 1971. Reports of rape in ChittagongSavar and Dhaka have been overlooked in the zeal to focus exclusively on the rape cases of 1971.
Follow in-depth coverage of war crimes trials in Dhaka
And the sense that women are being used as political pawns is more intense when we look at the  arrests of women of the opposition and female students and the raid on their meeting venue, as well as the subsequent arrests of female protesters from the Women's Rights Organisation at the Dhaka Press Club.          
On December 17, the office of the women's student branch of JI was raided and 20 members, including Abdul Kader Molla's wife Sanwara Jahan, were arrested. They were forced to remove their headscarves in a public setting, several hours before they were presented to the court.
Among those arrested were: an elderly woman, a pregnant woman and students from some of the country's top institutions. They were denied bail and were imprisoned despite the lack of charges brought against them.
Just weeks later, 15 members of the Women's Rights Organisation Bangladesh were arrested for their demand to release those women and for simply complaining about their mistreatment at the hands of the police.
Last week, 16 more members of the female student wing of JI were arrested. Most of them were grade 9 students, who had just completed their Junior School exams. These were girls in their early to mid-teens accused of planning "to sabotage". The house of one of these students, who had invited others to celebrate their Junior School Certification and commendable results, was subjected to a police raid. It was a clear case of invasion of their lives and rights being ignored. Reparative justice for the past cannot begin when justice today is flouted.
Aside from large numbers of civilian casualties and the continued victimisation of women, there is also very serious recent spike in the prosecution of religious minorities in the country. Reports of attacks have reached 1,000 minority houses and 50 temples. Amnesty International has shown concern over this recent wave of attacks on the minority Hindu community.
The fact that the rape victims of 1971 have been silenced and appear to be used as pawns in a fierce political crackdown against opposition voices offers neither confidence in the current process nor in the hope for reconciliation and healing for the past.
It is important to allow all victims - civilians, women, children and minorities - to be heard. The fact that the government and media in Bangladesh have refused to allow the stories of so many women, civilians and minorities to be heard is deeply worrying.
The fact that the only cases of the abuse of minorities that reach mainstream news are those in which the opposition is implicated is extremely disturbing.
This recurring pattern is indicative of something much larger - of the troubling reality of Bangladeshi politics: only some victims matter. And when only some victims are served justice, the process of putting right the past can never be fully realised.  

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British PM launches immigration crackdown

British PM launches immigration crackdown

David Cameron announces measures aimed at reducing access to benefits for migrants and increasing fines for lawbreakers.


Cameron said that the UK was 'rolling up the red carpet ... and showing [illegal migrants] the door' [Reuters]
David Cameron, the UK prime minister, has announced a crackdown on illegal immigration, saying that he plans to show those targeted "the door" and rein in welfare benefits that he believes act as incentives for foreigners to attempt to migrate.
Under the new policy, fines for employers who hire illegal immigrants would be doubled and landlords who rent out housing to illegal immigrants could also face fines, Cameron said.
With Romanians and Bulgarians winning the right to work in Britain next year, the prime minister said he was addressing "concerns, deeply held, that some people might be able to come and take advantage of our generosity without making a proper contribution to our country".
Cameron told an audience of students at University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich that he wanted to stop Britain's welfare system being "a soft touch".
"Put simply, when it comes to illegal migrants, we're rolling up that red carpet ... and showing them the door," he said.
Immigration reform has become a key concern for voters ahead of a scheduled 2015 election, polls show.
"Net migration needs to come down radically from hundreds of thousands a year to just tens of thousands," said Cameron.
In measures that will apply to all citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) - the 27-nation European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein - immigrants will have to wait up to five years for social housing and will be subject to tougher "reciprocal charging" requirements when using the National Health Service, meaning their own country will have to pay.
Cameron said public fears about uncontrolled immigration and the resulting pressure on public services and the rapid pace of change were fair.
"These concerns are not just legitimate - they are right and it is a fundamental duty of every mainstream politician to address them," he said.
'Something for nothing'
Cameron announced new measures that would make it more difficult for EEA nationals to claim welfare benefits, with payments stopped after six months if recipients could not show that they had a good chance of obtaining employment.
He also said newcomers would face a much harder test to see if they were eligible for income-related benefits.
"Ending the something for nothing culture needs to apply to immigration as well as welfare. We're going to give migrants from the EEA a very clear message," he said.
In Brussels, a spokesman for the European Commission said the EU executive would need to ensure any proposals were legal.
Cameron said he would contest any challenge "very robustly".
Last Friday, Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democrat party, with whom Cameron's Conservative Party have formed a coalition, said Britain was also considering obliging visitors from "high-risk" countries to pay a returnable cash bond to deter them from overstaying. 
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Taliban terrorize Karachi as the new gang in town


Taliban terrorize Karachi as the new gang in town

This seaside metropolis is no stranger to gangland violence, driven for years by a motley collection of armed groups who battle over money, turf and votes. But there is a new gang in town, says a report in the New York Times.
But there is a new gang in town. Hundreds of miles from their homeland in the mountainous northwest, Pakistani Taliban fighters have started to flex their muscles more forcefully in parts of this vast city, and they are openly taking ground.

Taliban gunmen have mounted guerrilla assaults on police stations, killing scores of officers. They have stepped up extortion rackets that target rich businessmen and traders, and shot dead public health workers engaged in polio vaccination efforts. In some neighborhoods, Taliban clerics have started to mediate disputes through a parallel judicial system.

The grab for influence and power in Karachi shows that the Taliban have been able to extend their reach across Pakistan, even here in the country’s most populous city, with about 20 million inhabitants. No longer can they be written off as endemic only to the country’s frontier regions.

In joining Karachi’s street wars, the Taliban are upending a long-established network of competing criminal, ethnic and political armed groups in this combustible city. The difference is that the Taliban’s agenda is more expansive — it seeks to overthrow the Pakistani state — and their operations are run by remote control from the tribal belt along the Afghan border.

Already, the militants have reshaped the city’s political balance by squeezing one of the most prominent political machines, the Pashtun-dominated Awami National Party, off its home turf. They have scared Awami operatives out of town and destroyed offices, gravely undercutting the party’s chances in national elections scheduled for May.

“We are the Taliban’s first enemy,” said Shahi Syed, the party’s provincial head, at his newly fortified office. “They burn my offices, they tear down my flags and they kill our people.”

The Taliban drift into Karachi actually began years ago, though much more quietly. Many fled here after a concerted Pakistani military operation in the Swat Valley in 2009. The influx has gradually continued, officials here say, with Taliban fighters able to easily melt into the city’s population of fellow ethnic Pashtuns, estimated to number at least five million people.

Until recently, the militants saw Karachi as a kind of rear base, using the city to lie low or seek medical treatment, and limiting their armed activities to criminal fund-raising, like kidnapping and bank robberies.

But for at least six months now, there have been signs that their timidity is disappearing. The Taliban have become a force on the street, aggressively exerting their influence in the ethnic Pashtun quarters of the city.

Taliban tactics are most evident in Manghopir, an impoverished neighborhood of rough, cinder-block houses clustered around marble quarries on the northern edge of the city, where illegal housing settlements spill into the surrounding desert.

In recent months, Taliban militants have attacked the Manghopir police station three times, killing eight officers, said Muhammad Aadil Khan, a local member of Parliament.

In interviews, residents describe Taliban militants who roam on motorbikes or in jeeps with tinted windows, delivering extortion demands in the shape of two bullets wrapped in a piece of paper.

A factory owner in Manghopir, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety, said that several Pashtun businessmen had received demands for $10,000 to $50,000. The figure was negotiable, he said, but payment was not: resistance could result in an assault on the victim’s house or, in the worst case, a bullet to the head.

Mr. Khan said he had not dared to visit his constituency in months. “There is a personal threat against me,” he said, speaking at the headquarters of his party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which represents ethnic Mohajirs, in the city center.

The militant drive has even distressed Manghopir’s most revered residents: the dozens of crocodiles who inhabit a pool near a Sufi shrine here.

The Muslim pilgrims who come here to pay homage to the shrine’s saint have long also brought scraps of meat for his reptile charges.

But lately, as visitor numbers have dwindled from hundreds per day to barely a few dozen, the roughly 120 crocodiles here have grown hungry, according to the animals’ elderly caretaker.

Police officials, militant sources and Pashtun residents say that three major Taliban factions operate in Karachi — the most powerful one, which is rooted in South Waziristan and dominated by the Mehsud tribe, and two others from the Swat and Mohmand areas.

A senior city police officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that militant commanders with those factions send operational orders to Karachi from the tribal belt; while some captured militants have tried to justify their activities by citing the authorization of religious clerics in the northwest.

In cases, he added, regular criminal groups have posed as Taliban fighters in a bid to increase their power of intimidation.

Just why the Taliban are adopting such an aggressive profile in Karachi right now is unclear. Some cite the greater number of militants fleeing Pakistani military operations in the northwest; others say it may be the product of dwindling funds, as jihadi donors in the Persian Gulf states turn to the Middle East.

In any event, it has shaken the city’s bloody ethnic politics.

Since the 1980s, armed supporters of the Mohajir-dominated Muttahida Qaumi Movement have engaged in tit-for-tat violence with those of the Pashtun-dominated Awami National Party. In the worst periods, dozens of people have died in a day. Now, faced with a common enemy, figures in both parties say they have declared an uneasy, unofficial truce.

As well as the attack on the Awami party — which have seen it close 44 of its district offices across the city — the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for two attacks on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement — first, a bombing that killed four people, then the assassination of a party parliamentarian.

In a recent interview with The New York Times in North Waziristan, the Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said the group was targeting both parties — as well as President Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party — for their “liberal” policies.

The security forces, shaken out of complacency, have begun a number of major anti-Taliban operations. The latest of those occurred on March 23 when hundreds of paramilitary Rangers raided a residential area in Manghopir, near the crocodile shrine, confiscating a cache of more than 50 weapons and rounding up 200 people, 16 of whom were later identified as militants and detained.

“I don’t think the Taliban would like to set Karachi aflame, because they fear the reaction against them,” said Ikram Seghal, a security consultant in Karachi. “The police and intelligence agencies have very good information about them.”

Other factors limit the Pakistani Taliban’s ingress into Karachi. One of the more provocative ones is that allied militants — particularly the Afghan Taliban — might not like the added publicity. The Afghan wing has long used the city as place to rest and resupply. There are longstanding rumors that the movement’s leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, is taking shelter here, and that his leadership council, known as the Quetta Shura, has met in Karachi.

In such a vast and turbulent city, the Taliban may become just another turf-driven gang. But without a determined response from the security forces, experts say, they could also seek to become much more.
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New Delhi, Beijing agree to firm up bilateral exchanges


New Delhi, Beijing agree to firm up bilateral exchanges

They agreed to continue with the intensity of exchanges witnessed during the tenure of Hu Jintao as President and Wen Jiabao as Premier.
Before the structured meeting with Mr. Xi in Durban, both leaders exchanged notes earlier on the sidelines of the BRICS events. They agreed to continue with the intensity of exchanges witnessed during the tenure of Hu Jintao as President and Wen Jiabao as Premier. The Prime Minister had met Mr. Wen nine times, the last time on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Cambodia.

Apart from talks on a joint mechanism to monitor dam construction on the Brahmaputra, both leaders reviewed the entire palette of ties including the issue of coordinating their positions on third-country and international issues, as well as harmonising their stand at regional and multilateral fora.

“I got a distinct impression that the new Chinese leadership is as serious as the earlier Chinese leadership to promote good neighbourly relations and to find practical, pragmatic solutions to outstanding issues between our two countries,” said the Prime Minister.

They also agreed that high-level visits will be exchanged this year. According to official sources, the first major visit could be by Defence Minister A. K. Antony to Beijing.

While India has been demanding the dam mechanism as a lower riparian country for Brahmaputra, Bangladesh, as a lower riparian country, has been asking India for a monitoring or consultative mechanism for the region’s entire basin of rivers so that it includes other countries such as China, Bhutan and Nepal as well.

At the Prime Minister’s initiative, India, in turn, has offered Bangladesh an equity stake, and thus part-ownership, in the Tipaimukh Dam, which it proposes to construct in Manipur on a river common to both countries. Even after six months, Bangladesh is yet to respond to India on whether the proposal is acceptable.
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Russia may set up new Afghanistan bases: official


Russia may set up new Afghanistan bases: official

Russian Defense Ministry officials and NATO representatives will soon discuss the possibility of Russia establishing new bases in Afghanistan for the repairing of military hardware.
“We will look into various options of creating repair bases on Afghan territory,” the head of the Defense Ministry’s department of international cooperation, Sergey Koshelev, told the press. He added that the maintenance of weapons and military hardware in Afghanistan remains a top priority, as any instability in the country would affect Russia’s own security, as well as the security of other European nations.

Russian NATO envoy Aleksandr Grushko also said that Moscow was not excluding the possibility of broader cooperation with the military bloc. In particular, Russia could offer to enlarge the transport corridor to Afghanistan, so that the country’s own forces could continue to receive supplies from Western allies after coalition troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.

The top Russian MP for defense said in press comments that Moscow saw stabilization in Afghanistan as a main priority: “In any case this [Russia-NATO cooperation] is a positive moment. The coalition was breaking there for 13 years. We remember very well the situation our troops found themselves in at the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border. This is why the stabilization in Afghanistan is very important for us,” Sergey Zhigarev told RSN radio.

The complete withdrawal of International Security Assistance Force from Afghanistan is scheduled for 2015. Then-US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a recent statement that Afghan authorities are already providing security across three-quarters of the country’s territory.

Panetta added, however, that the withdrawal of military forces did not mean that the US was leaving Afghanistan completely, and promised aid and training to the country’s government and military forces.

Over the past several years, the Pentagon has been buying Russian weapons, including helicopters for Afghan military forces, despite criticism from some US politicians. Russia has also agreed to open a NATO logistics base on its territory to simplify cargo deliveries from Western Europe.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied that Moscow is considering resuming its military presence in Afghanistan.

Russian Defense Ministry officials and NATO representatives will soon discuss the possibility of Russia establishing new bases in Afghanistan for the repairing of military hardware.
“We will look into various options of creating repair bases on Afghan territory,” the head of the Defense Ministry’s department of international cooperation, Sergey Koshelev, told the press. He added that the maintenance of weapons and military hardware in Afghanistan remains a top priority, as any instability in the country would affect Russia’s own security, as well as the security of other European nations.

Russian NATO envoy Aleksandr Grushko also said that Moscow was not excluding the possibility of broader cooperation with the military bloc. In particular, Russia could offer to enlarge the transport corridor to Afghanistan, so that the country’s own forces could continue to receive supplies from Western allies after coalition troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.

The top Russian MP for defense said in press comments that Moscow saw stabilization in Afghanistan as a main priority: “In any case this [Russia-NATO cooperation] is a positive moment. The coalition was breaking there for 13 years. We remember very well the situation our troops found themselves in at the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border. This is why the stabilization in Afghanistan is very important for us,” Sergey Zhigarev told RSN radio.

The complete withdrawal of International Security Assistance Force from Afghanistan is scheduled for 2015. Then-US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a recent statement that Afghan authorities are already providing security across three-quarters of the country’s territory.

Panetta added, however, that the withdrawal of military forces did not mean that the US was leaving Afghanistan completely, and promised aid and training to the country’s government and military forces.

Over the past several years, the Pentagon has been buying Russian weapons, including helicopters for Afghan military forces, despite criticism from some US politicians. Russia has also agreed to open a NATO logistics base on its territory to simplify cargo deliveries from Western Europe.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied that Moscow is considering resuming its military presence in Afghanistan.
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CHINA EXPANDS LIST OF ACTIVITIES FORBIDDEN TO TIBETANS


tibet-Rebgong-map-march2013.gif
Map by RFA.

                                  Anundated document listing the restricted behaviors, including filming self-immolation protests and seeking welfare donations, has been disseminated in all towns and villages of Rebgong (in Chinese, Tongren) county in Qinghai’s Malho (Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, according to a source inside the region.

A typed copy of the document was received on Wednesday by RFA’s Tibetan Service.

Prohibitions listed in the document are aimed at “strengthening the protection of social stability and maintaining discipline by cracking down on unlawful activities in the relevant areas,” the document, written in Tibetan, says.

Activities now forbidden include fund-raising “in the name of social welfare,” urging protection of the environment or the Tibetan language, and conducting prayer rituals or other religious ceremonies if these carry “overtones” of support for Tibetan independence.

Other unlawful activities listed as unlawful include “intimidating” government officials, inciting self-immolation protests, obstructing the “rescue” of self-immolators by Chinese security forces, and sending images or information about self-immolations to “outside separatist forces.”

The list particularly bars Tibetans from “taking pictures and filming the actual scene of self-immolation and mass gatherings” and “providing secret information to separatist forces,” apparently referring to Tibetan exile groups.

Some reports said the new list was based on points made by an unnamed senior Chinese official at a recent provincial-level meeting.

A total of 113 Tibetans to date have set themselves ablaze to challenge Chinese rule in Tibetan areas and call for the return from exile of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Earlier notices

In October last year, Chinese authorities in another restive Tibetan region in the Kanlho (in Chinese, Gannan) prefecture of China’s northwestern Gansu province offered large rewards for information on the “planning and instigation” of self-immolation protests, pledging to protect the safety of informants.

Notices, dated Oct. 21, 2012 and written in Tibetan and Chinese, asked residents to assist police in preventing the self-immolations.

At the same time, the notices blamed the fiery protests on the Dalai Lama and “separatist” forces.

Chinese authorities in Gansu early last year posted police notices in public places in Kanlho prefecture threatening severe punishment for "criminals" who "threaten the social stability of Gan Lho [Kanlho]" with "ideas of splitting the nation."

Also subject to immediate punishment was the "incitement of illegal activities and agitation between ethnic groups," the notice said.

The "destabilization of society" and promotion of "illegal organizations" were also cited as banned in the October notice, as were any forms of communication or information judged as being used for "criminal purposes."

These could include "speech and the distribution of written information," "cartoons," "homemade materials," "videos," "websites," "emails, and audio files," or "SMS text messages," the notice said.
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Tibetan Monk Dies in Burning Protest Against 'Ruthless' Rule


Tibetan Monk Dies in Burning Protest Against 'Ruthless' Rule



tibet-mori.jpg
Mori monastery in Luchu (in Chinese, Luqu) county in the Gansu province's Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in an undated photo.
 Photo courtesy of an RFA listener
            ATibetan monk has burned himself to death near a monastery in northwestern China's Gansu province in the latest self immolation protest challenging Chinese rule, exile sources said Thursday, citing local contacts.

Kunchok Tenzin, 28, torched himself at a major road intersection near his Mori monastery in Luchu (in Chinese, Luqu) county in the Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture on Tuesday, the sources said.

News of the burning protest was relayed only two days later due to communication difficulties, they said.

"He set himself on fire at 7 p.m. at a major crossroads in close proximity to the monastery in protest against the ruthless Chinese policy in Tibet and died," India-based Tibetan exile monks Kanyak Tsering and Lobsang Yeshi said in a statement.

"Fearing they may lose custody of the body to the Chinese security forces, the Tibetans in the area managed to move his body to the monastery first and then cremated him late at night," they said.

“After the fiery protest, security forces were deployed in all the neighboring towns located in the neighborhood of Mori monastery and restrictions were imposed on the locals," according to Kanyak Tsering and Lobsang Yeshi, who are based in the Indian hill town of Dharamsala, where Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama lives.
They said that Kunchok Tenzin was enrolled in the monastery at a young age and known for his "accomplishments in the study of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy.”
His burning raised the number of Tibetan self-immolation protests challenging Chinese rule in Tibetan-populated areas and calling for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet to 114.
Updated toll
Earlier Thursday, it was confirmed for the first time that a Tibetan monk and his niece had died nearly a year ago in a self-immolation protest against Chinese rule and not due to a home accident as reported previously.

Tulku Athup and niece Atse self-immolated at his Dzogchen monastery in Sichuan Province on April 6 last year, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the official name of the India-based exile government, said on its website on Wednesday.

But fearing closure of the monastery, officials at the institution had told Chinese police then that they had died due to an "accidental fire," the CTA said.

The police then withdrew from the monastery.

On the day of his burning protest, he told his family by phone: “Today I feel at ease and [am] ending my life by offering butter lamps for all those Tibetans who have set themselves on fire for the cause of Tibet," according to the CTA. "Immediately after making the call, he and his niece set themselves on fire."

Tulku Athup was 47 years old when he died and Atse was 25.

Kate Saunders, London-based spokesperson for the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), said that though Tulku Athup and Atse are already referenced in an ICT database of self-immolators, they were never listed in the advocacy group's final count.
"Shortly, we may include them in our total of Tibetans who have self-immolated in China," Saunders said.
13 'unlawful behaviors' in Malho
Chinese authorities have recently tightened controls in Tibetan-populated areas to check the self-immolation protests, arresting and jailing more than a dozen Tibetans who they accused of being linked to the burnings. Some were jailed up to 15 years.

In the latest move, sources told RFA's Tibetan Service this week that Chinese authorities are circulating a new list of 13 “unlawful” behaviors in a protest-hit Tibetan county in China’s northwestern Qinghai province, warning Tibetans against involvement in self-immolation protests and a range of other activities deemed supportive of challenges to Chinese rule.

An undated document listing the restricted behaviors, including filming self-immolation protests and seeking welfare donations, has been disseminated in all towns and villages of Rebgong (in Chinese, Tongren) county in Qinghai’s Malho (Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the sources said.

A typed copy of the document was received on Wednesday by RFA’s Tibetan Service.

Prohibitions listed in the document are aimed at “strengthening the protection of social stability and maintaining discipline by cracking down on unlawful activities in the relevant areas,” the document, written in Tibetan, says.

Activities now forbidden include fundraising “in the name of social welfare,” urging protection of the environment or the Tibetan language, and conducting prayer rituals or other religious ceremonies if these carry “overtones” of support for Tibetan independence.

Other unlawful activities listed as unlawful include “intimidating” government officials, inciting self-immolation protests, obstructing the “rescue” of self-immolators by Chinese security forces, and sending images or information about self-immolations to “outside separatist forces.”

The list particularly bars Tibetans from “taking pictures and filming the actual scene of self-immolation and mass gatherings” and “providing secret information to separatist forces,” apparently referring to Tibetan exile groups.

Some reports said the new list was based on points made by an unnamed senior Chinese official at a recent provincial-level meeting.
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