It's that time of the year again, the season traditionally known for weddings and pitthas. But seasons undergo changes, and the winter can barely live up to its name anymore. And with that we should reconsider what things we associate with this time—a phenomenon that truly characterises this winter. I propose that the winter of 2017 be remembered as the season of question paper leaks, given the almost daily reports this month, sparing no grade, starting from class I.
The outpouring of help for Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh has been heart-warming. For a country itself plagued by scarcity, people from all walks have come forward to help them in whatever capacity they have. Buddhists in this country have set up camps to donate blood to Rohingyas who need it and Muslims here have come out to help both Muslims and Hindu refugees from Rakhaine. Now, Sikh volunteers from India have arrived in Teknaf to set up a community kitchen for the refugees. And, as befits a nation that constitutionally guarantees the rights of every citizen, irrespective of race and religion, some Muslim alems have come out saying that now, it is the duty of Islamic leaders here to ensure that no one harasses minorities in this country through misappropriation of the plight of the Rohingyas.
We live in a country where women who are survivors of sexual violence not only have to go against the traditional grain of society but the justice and law enforcement systems as well. Our antiquated laws, medical procedures to prove rape, the cruel character shaming and the general social impunity granted to men makes one wonder how brave a woman has to be to even demand justice.
In 2008, Ecuador codified the principle of Rights of Nature in its Constitution, recognising that ecosystems have an inalienable right to exist and flourish. “Nature, or Pacha Mama, where life is reproduced and occurs, has the right to integral respect for its existence and for the maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes,” reads Article 71 of the Constitution. Not only does the Constitution set out in detail the rights of nature, it states that “persons, communities, peoples and nations can call upon public authorities to enforce the rights of nature.”
No punishment including physical violence and/or mental torture in any form, can be imposed or inflicted on anybody in pursuance of fatwa,” reads the Supreme Court verdict regarding fatwas. The landmark verdict also made it clear that no one can be forced to abide by a fatwa, and that such verdicts cannot in any way violate the rights or reputation of any person.
When blogger Rajib Haider was killed in 2013, the outcry was tremendous. But, over the next three years, at least 38 more were added to the list of those murdered, which includes writers, publisher, foreigners, religious minorities and LGBT rights activists. There have been reports about alleged IS involvement, and last week, the security forces launched a drive that resulted in the arrest of 194 'militants'. But the collective outrage over people being murdered seems to have mellowed.