This week’s episode of Just Asia begins with the re-arrest of Indian activist Irom Sharmila, two days after being acquitted of attempted suicide charges. On hunger strike for the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act causing widespread abuses in Manipur, Sharmila has been arrested and released several times over the past 15 years.
Moving to Indonesia, Just Asia reports that the Turn Left Cultural Festival was forcibly dispersed by Jakarta police due to pressure from intolerant groups. Meant to stimulate thought about Indonesia’s leftist history and revisit the violence of 1965, the police’s dispersal of the festival reveals their lack of independence.
In Thailand, a Conservation Group called on public officials to allow people’s participation in renewing a mining permit in a protected forest area of Loei province. Due to a sit-in by community activists, the permit renewal meeting was finally postponed until May.
Next, Just Asia covers the story of four Pakistani women who have been internationally recognized for their outstanding work. In one of the most conservative and patriarchal societies of the world, four women have challenged the status quo: Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy has made history as the only Pakistani to win two Oscars; Nergis Mavalvala is a member of the team that recently announced the scientific milestone of detecting Albert Einstein’s hypothesised gravitational waves; Malala Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 at the age of 18; and Shad Begum, an activist from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, received the International Women of Courage Award by the US in 2012.
Finally, in its Urgent Appeals Weekly, Just Asia reports two stories from Indonesia. In one, the Asian Human Rights Commission called upon the Indonesian Government to continue investigations into the brutal attack of two land rights activists. The second story documents the inadequate punishment given to four police officers of Sungailiat Police Resort for torturing and killing a suspect.
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