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North and South of Terrorism

14 Feb 2002

Private agendas of ruling powers in South Asia

People in south Asia watch with dismay, anxiety, and restiveness as ruling powers in their countries recklessly proceed towards fulfilling private agendas that have little to do with issues of livelihood and well being. Peace seems on the road to being destroyed to a point of no return in Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It is president Bush and the ruling powers in the US who would be laughing all the way as interests of people in south Asia and in the western world are compromised at the altar of the fight against terrorism.

Fundamental-democratic rights of citizens have been curbed all over the world--through varied names such as the Patriotic Act and Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO)- defining patriotism as subservience to US Imperialism and their stooges in south Asia and the Muslim world. In fact it appears that having taught the people of Afghanistan a lesson for not having identified their interests with those of civilisation, the US is now keen that people of other countries learn the same, sooner rather than later.

There have been arrests in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh for protesting against the US bombardment of Afghanistan. Americas war is inevitably getting incorporated into the private agendas of the governments in south Asia. There is a tinderbox just waiting to catch fire in a way that will engulf the entire region in war and ethnic and religious conflicts and drag peoples fight for justice and citizenship rights by decades, if not more.

Anti Muslim and anti Christian pogroms have taken place in India, anti Christian attacks within a church at prayer time in Pakistan, and Hindus have been viciously attacked and Hindu women raped in Bangladesh, in the wake of the high pitch rhetoric of anti terrorism created and promoted by the US government, and translated into local versions by the fascist and fundamentalist forces in the entire south Asian region. The recent series of the Maoist attacks in Nepal, we must remember, began with protests on the compulsory singing of the Indian national anthem in Delhi Public School of Nepal. The coming elections in Sri Lanka have all the indications of bloody and sectarian campaigns and contests.  The attack on Parliament in Delhi and, and killings of young Sikh and Hindu girls in Kashmir by unknown assailants has contributed to the already tense atmosphere in the region.

In situations of such tension, with the SAARC conference just a few days away, the ruling powers seem bent on playing the game of Imperialism. There is little chance of cooperation and resistance to WTO and World Bank-IMF dictated policies in the wake of such disunity and bad blood between countries in this region. The war of Imperialism against south Asia will succeed not on count of the defeated Afghan people, bombed and with little say in the formation of their own government. It is more likely to win some battles thanks to the shortsightedness, parochialism and vested interests of those in power in the countries loudly proclaiming their support for the fight against terrorism. At a juncture when internationalism could be the best safeguard of national unity and popular interests the ruling powers are giving voice to the most rabid and jingoistic notions of nationalism.

The Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia was formed in 1993 to combat rising religious intolerance in South Asia and to campaign for peace and justice in the region. We are committed to working towards a just, non-violent resolution of the crisis we are currently living through. If you are interested in joining us in this work, please call 617-983-3934 or e-mail

3 Feb 2007

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