This week Just Asia begins with terror attacks in Indonesia. The country’s second largest city of Surabaya saw yet another suicide bombing on Monday morning, at the police station. On Sunday, three churches were attacked, killing at least 11 persons, and injuring 41 persons during Sunday mass. This was one of the worst attacks on Surabaya’s considerable Christian minority. While no group has claimed responsibility, some experts have linked the attacks to local cells affiliated with the Islamic State.
Moving to the Maldives, two Supreme Court judges were sentenced to imprisonment on May 10 on politically motivated charges. The judges were arrested on February 6, after a Supreme Court ruling overturned the convictions of nine members of the opposition, including former President Mohamed Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected leader. The ruling was deemed ‘illegal’ by President Yameen, who declared a 15-day state of emergency “to hold these justices accountable.”
Next, thunderstorms, hail and lightning ravaging India since April have already claimed at least 278 lives. This number is higher than usual. Although such extratropical storms are a routine phenomenon, their severity and number has been exceptional this year. At least 42 of the casualties this year came from the northern province of Uttar Pradesh alone, though deaths and destruction of property has been reported from across India. The storms claimed 14 lives in West Bengal and another 12 in Andhra Pradesh.
In India’s state of Kerala, police are facing charges of custodial torture, leading to the death of a young man on May 2. The young man, a rickshaw driver named Unais, was taken into custody on February 21. His family allege that he was severely beaten at this time, leading to his hospitalization on February 24, with blood oozing from his mouth and through his urine.
This case adds to the list of allegations against police in Kerala, including the custodial death of S.R. Sreejith in Varapuzha and delays in arresting a well-known businessman even after proof was provided of him molesting a 10-year-old girl in the cinema.
In Nepal, 50 Dalit families are barred from visiting the Shiva Temple located in Bara District for the last 40 years, since the temple was built. They are not even allowed to offer Jal (pure water) to the temple, and are also not allowed to even touch the walls of the temples.
The Dalit community contributed in the construction of the temple by donating their labor and money. And yet, the upper caste community is now not letting Dalits enter the temple. They threaten to abduct or even kill any Dalits who enter.
Finally, the Urgent Appeals Weekly features three cases from Indonesia and the Philippines.
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