Potteeswaran, a rice farmer, said he was holding the skulls of Murugesan and Laxmi, a couple from Trichy in Tamil Nadu, who had killed themselves over a bank loan they couldn’t repay. “When the bank seized their land, they saw no other solution,” Potteeswaran said.
In April 2017, more than 150 farmers from Tamil Nadu sat for almost a month at Delhi’s protest hub of Jantar Mantar. They sat buck-naked, holding the bones of neighbors who had committed suicide, and bearing dead rats and grass in their teeth.
“In 2016, Tamil Nadu saw its worst rainfall in 140 years,” said Aiyyakannu, who led the farmers’ protest.… Seguir leyendo »
Among their common traits, illiberal strongmen share a virulent mistrust of civil society. From Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, illiberal governments regularly use imprisonment, threats and nationalist language to repress nongovernmental organizations. Here in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is going after their money.
The Lawyers Collective, an advocacy group in New Delhi run by the prominent lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, has for three decades provided legal assistance to women, nonunion workers, activists and other marginalized groups, often without charge. In December, the Modi government barred it from receiving foreign grants. The political reasons were obvious: The Collective had represented critics of Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
When I met Watareka Vijitha Thero in early 2014 in a suburb of Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, he had been in hiding for nearly five months. The gentle-voiced monk had spoken out against anti-Muslim fearmongering by a hard-line group called the Buddhist Power Force, known by its Sinhalese initials B.B.S.
Mr. Vijitha’s car was attacked in retaliation, and he narrowly escaped. “What does it mean for Buddhism if those that speak for communal harmony have to hide in fear?” he asked me. “What does it mean for my country that the government lets these lawless thugs have a free run?”
Six months later, Mr.… Seguir leyendo »