‘They beat me with sticks’: Bangladesh opposition reels under crackdown as thousands held

Police accused of shooting at activists and leaders of growing street protests against Sheikh Hasina’s draconian government

It was a warm afternoon in May 2020 when Ahmed Kabir Kishore, dozing lazily, awoke to 20 men breaking down the door of his apartment in Dhaka, Bangladesh. With guns waved in his face, he was dragged to a van outside. “Move away, we have arrested a terrorist,” he heard them shout at the crowds.

Kishore was not a terrorist. He was a cartoonist whose political drawings, published in prominent Bangladesh newspapers and magazines, took a critical view of the alleged corruption, human rights abuses and mishandling of the Covid pandemic by the government, led by prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

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Two Bangladeshi opposition leaders arrested in government crackdown

Seven killed and thousands arrested as Hasina regime continues repressive campaign against opponents

Two top leaders of Bangladesh’s main opposition party have been arrested amid a violent crackdown on government opponents during which at least seven people have been shot dead and thousands arrested.

Over recent weeks, Sheikh Hasina’s government has launched a repressive campaign against the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP), which has been holding rallies calling for her resignation.

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‘Do we not have any rights?’ Indian Muslims’ fear after Assam evictions

BJP government accused of ‘divide-and-conquer policy’ as villagers are beaten and shot

Maynal Haque was holding a bamboo stick in his hand when the police shot him at point-blank range. All around him, the houses of the village he grew up in were being destroyed or set alight by police. As Haque fell to the ground, officers’ batons pounded on his body and a photographer, appointed by police to document the raid, ran over and began stamping hard on him, a scene caught in video footage. Once dead, Haque was rolled into a bulldozer and carried off by officers.

“He was with just a stick but they fired at his chest,” Haque’s wife, Mamataj Begum, said through tears. “They killed him in a brutal way. The sole breadwinner of our family is murdered by police. How shall we live without him?”

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‘We cannot hope for anything good’: Myanmar coup sparks despair for Rohingya

While Aung San Suu Kyi defended a genocidal campaign against the Muslim minority, refugees fear military rule will end dreams of a return home

For the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar, news of the fall of Aung San Suu Kyi after the military coup was bittersweet.

After all, no community had felt more betrayed by Myanmar’s civilian leader. When she came to power in 2015, the belief was that she would overturn decades of persecution and finally bring about peace and citizenship, following in the footsteps of her father, Gen Aung San.

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Rohingya refugees allege sexual assault on Bangladeshi island

Group says it has been held in jail-like conditions on Bhasan Char since April

Rohingya refugees allege they are being held against their will in jail-like conditions and subjected to rape and sexual assault on a Bangladeshi island in the Bay of the Bengal.

A group of more than 300 refugees were taken to the uninhabited, silt island of Bhasan Char in April, when a boat they were travelling on was intercepted by Bangladeshi authorities.

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Facebook faces grilling by MPs in India over anti-Muslim hate speech

Social media site denies any bias towards ruling Hindu nationalist BJP party

Facebook’s alleged political bias and its role in spreading anti-Muslim hate speech in India is to come under scrutiny when senior executives are summoned before a parliamentary committee.

The committee hearing on Wednesday follows allegations in the Wall Street Journal that the company’s top policy official in India, Ankhi Das, had prevented the removal of hate speech and anti-Muslim posts by politicians from the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) in order to maintain a good relationship with the government, a claim the company denied.

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How lives were destroyed under cover of lockdown in a small Indian town

In Telinipara, West Bengal, Hindu attackers burned Muslim homes and shops and vandalised mosques

Under the cover of lockdown, they came. Armed with petrol bombs, acid bombs, gas cylinders, molotov cocktails and explosives, the men, numbering around 100, piled stealthily into small boats to cross over the Ganges river. Reaching their target, the banks of the small town of Telinipara, they climbed ashore. And then, they pounced.

The violent onslaught that began at midday of 12 May was the pinnacle of the worst outbreak of religious violence in India since the riots that ripped through north-east Delhi in February, killing over 50 people. Over three days in this small town in West Bengal, which, like the rest of India was under a strict nationwide coronavirus lockdown that confined everyone to their homes, Hindu attackers burned and decimated Muslim homes and shops and vandalised two mosques and a Muslim shrine. According to multiple accounts given to the Guardian, the perpetrators also exposed themselves to Muslim women and made rape and death threats as they carried out the brutality. In retaliation, local Muslims then began setting fire to Hindu homes. Of the 55 buildings eventually destroyed, around 45 belonged to Muslims.

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‘We are very afraid’: scramble to contain coronavirus in Mumbai slum

Fears disease could ‘spread like wildfire’ in the incredibly congested slum of Dharavi

It was the news that many in India had feared. A 56-year-old man who lived in Dharavi, India’s largest slum, where almost 1 million people are densely packed together in a 2 sq km area in Mumbai, had tested positive for coronavirus. He died shortly after.

It has prompted a scramble by local authorities to halt the virus before it takes hold in this overcrowded, unsanitary enclave, which was the inspiration for Danny Boyle’s film Slumdog Millionaire.

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Rohingya refugees turn down second Myanmar repatriation effort

Bangladeshi official says potential returnees fear for their safety in Rakhine state

A second attempt to repatriate the thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh has failed after the authorities failed to convince the refugees it would be safe to return.

The Myanmar government had approved more than 3,000 Rohingya to be brought back to the country beginning on Thursday but, as during the first repatriation attempt in November, no refugees agreed to voluntarily board the buses to Myanmar.

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