The COVID-19 disease, the second wave of which has ravaged India for the past two months, appears to mercifully be easing somewhat.
In its Plenary held on February 22, 24, 25, 2021, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) decided to retain Pakistan in its listing of Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring – the ‘grey list’ – along with 18 other countries. Pakistan has been on the ‘grey list’ since June 2018.
On January 18, 2021, in a massive pro-freedom rally organised in Sann Town in Jamshoro District of Sindh, on the 117th birth anniversary of Ghulam Murtaza Syed, one of the founding fathers of modern Sindh nationalism, protesters raised placards of several world leaders to seek their intervention for the liberation of Sindh. The world leaders whose placards were used include Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, Bangladesh Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina, British PM Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Indian PM Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, US President-elect Joe Biden (he later assumed office on January 20) and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The posters declared, “Sindh wants freedom from Pakistan”.
On January 24, 2021, five Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants, including two ‘commanders’, were killed in intelligence-based operations in Mir Ali and Khesur areas of North Waziristan District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The slain ‘commanders’ were identified as Syed Raheem and Saifullah Raheem.
A fast-unto-death protest started by five undergraduates of the Jaffna University came to an end soon after Vice Chancellor of the University S. Srisatkunarajah laid the foundation stone for the reconstruction of the Mullivaikkal Memorial within the university premises on January 11, 2021.
On December 18, 2020, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), filed a chargesheet against 10 accused, including designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun of the banned secessionist organization – Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) – before the NIA Special Court at Mohali in the Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar District of Punjab. Originally registered by Punjab Police at Sultanwind Police Station, Amritsar (City) on October 19, 2018, the case was subsequently re-registered by the NIA (RC-19/2020/NIA/DLI) on April 5, 2020. The case relates to a series of acts of violence including acts of arson in Punjab in 2017-18, carrying out propaganda activities, both online and on ground campaigns in support of SFJ and the purported ‘Referendum 2020’. These acts were committed by a gang of radicalised Sikh youth under the direction and financial assistance from SFJ handlers located abroad, as part of an organized conspiracy by the accused for the launch of a concerted secessionist campaign for the creation of ‘Khalistan’.
Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on December 1, 2020, disclosed that the government was moving to re-activate the investigation of 83 cases of Hefazat-e-Islam's (HeI) 'terrorist activities' in 2013, adding,
The Indian Security Forces (SFs) with active cooperation of their Bangladeshi counterparts have successfully secured custody of Drishti Rajkhowa aka Monoj Rabha, the ‘deputy commander-in-chief’ of the Independent faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA-I). Rajkhowa, along with four of his accomplices, surrendered before Indian Security Forces (SFs) on November 11, 2020, in Meghalaya, along the India-Bangladesh Border. A day later, on November 12, he ‘formally’ surrendered to the Unified Command at the Army’s Red Horns Division at Rangia in the Kamrup District of Assam. His accomplices were identified as Yashin Ali, Rup Jyoti Rabha, Babul Rabha, and Rahul Hazarika.
Several parts of Nawa and Nad Ali Districts of Helmand Province were cleared of the Taliban in the ongoing operation by Afghan Security Forces (SFs), the Ministry of Defense said on October 28, 2020. The operation was launched on October 26, in these two districts as well as in Lashkargah city, the capital of Helmand, to retake the areas that had fallen to the Taliban two weeks ago, a statement by Ministry of Defense read, adding, “More than 100 Taliban fighters were killed and wounded in the operation.”
Some time at the end of December 71, just after independence, I decided to visit the famous American journalist Edgar Snow. He spent his last days in Eysins on Lac lemon not far from Geneva.
A new expression has recently appeared in the media and international diplomatic circles: ‘wolf warrior’ a term for the new and very assertive Chinese diplomats, who use Twitter and other social media platforms to prey on any person, legal or physical, which criticizes China or the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
China’s policy of corrupting the political class of a country, especially those that are economically fragile, is well known. Many countries in Africa, South & South East Asia and Latin America have fallen prey to these Chinese machinations and some are now neck deep in Chinese debt.
On July 24, 2020, four Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) personnel were killed and four were injured in a Taliban attack on their outpost at Kharistan village in Ghor Province.
On July 11, 2020, a combined team of the Assam Rifles and the Police, killed six National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) cadres in in an encounter, at a place near Nginu in Longding District. The deceased cadres were identified as - Somaya Shatsang, Ashak Wangsa, Somipam Shaiza, Sawang Pansa, Lentsuba Lalii and Paogouhao Lhangum. Arunachal Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP), R.P. Upadhyaya disclosed,
On June 11, 2020, unidentified miscreants hurled a petrol bomb at the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) office located in the Kharmalki area of the State capital, Shillong, in the East Khasi Hills District.