Veritas Numquam Perit – Or maybe it does!!!
Pop culture has always been a big head turner and one of the many few things that transcend beyond territorial and cultural boundaries. The attention further intensifies manifold when an ugly spat turns into a serious but binge-worthy courtroom drama. Be it the RDJ on drugs charges, Sean Penn for domestic assault against his wife, or Emma Roberts for domestic abuse, everybody around the world was glued to their tv screens, ruffling through the legal articles just to ascertain their stand on the whole matter. The newest hot-potato was the $50 million defamation suit filed by the Pirates of the Caribbean fame actor Johnny Depp against his ex-wife only to be served with a counter suit from the latter for $100 million.
The news spread like wildfire particularly as Depp had already lost the libel case against a British tabloid The Sun, in Britain, that referred to the actor as a ‘wife-beater’ in 2020. The consequences of which, were immense. The actor was thrown out of his signature franchise “Pirates of the Caribbean” courtesy to the Walt Disney Studios. Depp further also had to wash his hands from exuberant endorsements. The life of the 58-year-old role turned upside down and rightfully so. It was only in 2022 that the resurrection of Johnny Depp happened after winning the case and his fandom absolutely plummeted post his victory against ‘Aquaman actor Amber Heard in the defamation suit.
So, a series of questions look for their loci in the global mainframe. What went right or wrong for either of the parties from 2020 to 2022? How did the universal opinion unanimously align with the decision of the Jury in Fairfax County Court in Virginia? Is Amber Heard really a vulture that the world believes she is or was she just not smart enough to project her views as articulately as Depp did, or is it the legal team to be blamed for? Why did Johnny Depp lose his libel suit in the UK but won in the US? And most importantly, as. both the parties are well-known, renowned celebrities who enjoy a global fan-following, was televising the case which involves plenty of greys, enough for the social, print, and digital media to influence, instigate and vilify the opinion of lay-men, a wise decision?
The Trajectory – 2020-2022
The two actors married each other in 2015 after living together since 2012. However, the couple separated 15 months later and Heard filed for divorce on 23rd May 2016. It was only on 27th May 2016 when the divorce proceedings got turned into a media spectacle as Heard made her way into the California state Court with bruises on her face, submitting a plea before the court seeking a restraining order against Depp. Heard submitted that Johnny Depp has had a history of being extremely violent and that living with him would be akin to putting herself through an unparalleled dread of being terrorized, both physically and emotionally. She also contended that there have been various episodes of domestic violence, a few of them being extremely aggravated and life-threatening.
Relying on the testimonies of Amber Heard, the California state court issued a Temporary Restraining Order against Johnny Depp and also disposed of an order requiring Depp to attend 52 weeks of anger management courses. As is the case of Civil Restraining Orders, the party against whom the order is being issued need not appear before the court during the Restraining Orders proceedings. The same happened with Depp, although subsequent hearing dates were set for Depp to be able to present his side. However, those dates never saw the light of the day as the couple reached an agreement on 16th August 2016. One of the terms of the agreement entailed that the restraining orders would be ‘dismissed with prejudice’ elucidating that the case is settled once and for all and couldn’t be brought back to the court. Furthermore, in absence of a pre-nuptial agreement between the two, Depp paid $7 million which she pledged to charity, as a part of their divorce settlement.
The Libel Suit – 2018
An article dated 27th April 2018 published in a British tabloid ‘The Sun’ written by Dan Wotton, highlighted that the famous ‘Harry Potter’ book-writer J.K. Rowling is subject to huge backlash and uproar from the “#Metoo” community against her for being fine the production company signing Johnny Depp for the then-upcoming movie “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ in 2018. The article vehemently questioned Depp’s casting ahead of domestic accusations against the very actor. The article furthermore referred the Depp as a wife-beater, assaulted, etc. based on the California State Court Proceedings.
The article’s stringent remarks were directed at Depp; the actor consequently sued the magazine for libel in June 2018. However, the High Court (Queen’s Bench Division) while presiding over the matter, decided that the remarks published by the magazine were substantially true. Furthermore, the Court also found that a great majority of alleged assaults on Amber by Johnny were proved to the civil standard. The court also observed that Heard’s allegations against Depp have had a negative effect on her career as an actor and activist, taking Depp’s influence in the industry and global fan following into consideration. The Court also opined that certain excerpts of assaults were a reflection of Depp’s dominant ‘monster side’ character which inherently was psycho-symptomatic in nature. Furthermore, the court also discarded a major chunk of Depp’s evidence which rested upon Heard being a gold-digger and therefore fabricating emails, and text messages to build up a dossier to be later used as an insurance policy. However, the Court drew observation of Heard’s infamous ‘pledge’ of donating $7 million to charity and called it an act contravent to that of a gold-digger.
The Libel Suit – 2019
Post winning the libel suit in 2018, Amber Heard emerged as a flag-bearer of the #METOO movement and was appreciated and encouraged by society, especially women victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. In an embodiment of a new image as a ‘feminist activist’ and an ambassador of women’s rights at the American Civil Liberties Union, Heard wrote an opinion piece in 2018 for the Washington Post. The actor, drawing attention to the #MeToo movement, highlighted that ‘women have always confronted men who are buoyed by social, economic and cultural power’. She further spoke about her own personal instances as to how she was abused from an early age and the latest infamous abuse within marital bonds.
The article was vehemently titled – “I spoke up against sexual violence- and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to Change.” Objecting to the article which was conveniently directed at Depp, the actor sued Heard for libel in March in 2019 for $50 Million. The suit was filed just to be reckoned with a counter-suit for 100$ Million by Heard. The case was listed on the docket at Virginia county where the Washington Post printing press operates.
The proceedings were televised and the globe was glued to their tv screens, and mobile phones just to have a visual input of two well-known celebrities having it at each other for the world to treat it as a weekend binger and nothing else. Everything was photographed, all of it was for the world to comment upon. From making an entrance to the screams of “Johnny, Johnny, Johnny’ to getting out and signing autographs, Depp was already a victor. Amber, on the other hand, was subject to memes made out of her testimonies to get huge backlash from varied social media accounts. It would not be wrong to say that trial was unidirectional from the very start. The overwhelming support for Depp outgrew the public mocking of Heard. Nonetheless, Johnny Depp was awarded damages worth $15 million while Heard also got compensatory damages worth of $2 million.
But the question here arises, are the vilifying and disturbing memes and round-the-clock media trials enough to hamper the course of Justice and Law? If yes, then how can a layperson trust the judiciary with its independent and uninfluenced nature intact? And if not, then how did Johnny Depp win the libel suit here in the US but not in the UK?
Why Depp lose in the UK but won in the US
While both the countries endorse the spirit of free speech and expression, the US is a bit more liberal in preserving that sentiment. Furthermore, the legal proceedings of the cases related to defamation are vastly different in both countries. A major one being, that in the UK the burden of proof lies with the defendant whilst in the US, it lies with the complainant. Hence, it naturally makes it easier for the person in the US to be dominant in proceedings and cross-examination than in the UK wherein the person on the dock is just at the mercy of the questions posed by the complainant.
Furthermore, in the UK, the plaintiff just has to show that false and defamatory statements were made but in the US, the plaintiff also has to prove an added element of actual malice. Hence, as opposed to But, the most important distinguishing factor between the two was the fact that in the UK, there was a single judge as opposed to a jury in the US. As a result, it was easier to convince a jury who were subject to access media debates and even stayed with their family at their domestic homes during the course of trial and inadvertently indulged in discussions about the case, which ideally a jury is not supposed to.
The legal team of Johnny Depp is equally to be appreciated for their strategy. They used a very common but efficient defense strategy known as ‘DARVO’ (Deny, Attack and Reverse Victim and Offender) which conveniently turned Depp into a victim and Heard the abuser by absolutely steering away the suit matter from defamation to a case of Domestic abuse and violence. Keeping a women attorney to lead the cross of Amber Heard further aided Depp’s defense. Consequently, social media was influenced. The famous #justiceforjohnnydepp hashtag received 19 billion views on Tik Tok and trended for weeks on Twitter, which drew more public attention to the trial. The polls suggested that people were more interested in the courtroom drama than the ongoing war in Ukraine or the matter of revising Abortion laws resting before the Supreme Court.
The transparency of courts is a big debate that time and again resurfaces itself for various eminent reasons. The idea was to make it accessible to the general public so that the public can get acquainted with the judicial system and befriend it for their cause. At the same time, it was to be made accountable for the system to entrust it and rectify the shortcomings if any. However, in the present case, the transparency has only backfired. It caused more headaches than it cured and this attracts the question of televising cases based on merits and parties involved. However, censoring televised court proceedings can hurt ‘equality’ sentiment; the very spine of any judicial system. Nevertheless, the judicial system needs to revisit the televising protocols when it comes to high-profile cases, as televising only seems to hurt the process of law rather than making it smooth.
India’s Contribution to Post-Conflict States’ Development and Peacebuilding Support
India’s commitment to giving economic assistance to developing countries returns to its formation as an independent sovereign state in 1947. Despite its great struggle for growth after centuries of colonial control, India laid aside part of its scant resources to assist other developing countries. Regarding motivation, guiding principles, and methodology, India’s approach to offering development and peacebuilding aid differs significantly from that of the DAC nations.
The primary motivation for India to participate in development assistance is an emotional and ideological desire to exhibit solidarity with other developing nations. The economic factor of access to the market for Indian products and natural resources for its expanding industrial sector became the additional impetus in the altered geopolitical and geo economic setting in the globalized globe. India needs a distinct support category for peace building since it rejects the concept.
India’s Humanitarian Assistance
The peculiarity of India as a provider of development aid is that it primarily benefited from support from Western nations and multilateral organizations. India, despite its problems, donated part of its limited resources to help other developing countries that had suffered from similar colonial exploitation and oppression. It provided development assistance to demonstrate its emotional and ideological unity with other poor nations. It had paid off handsomely since India could take the lead among developing countries and use moral influence to affect world politics during the Cold War. Its experiences influence the guiding ideas and methodologies for its development aid as a developing nation.
With its recent economic growth and aim to lead the area, India has become more prominent in disaster assistance. While India has had significant success in achieving its goal of being the “first responder” in the region, it can further benefit from the goodwill generated by its aid:
- Improving internal procedures and increasing coordination with state governments, civil society, and other government branches; and
- eschewing a primarily bilateral approach and coordinating more through regional mechanisms or partnerships. Internally, increased collaboration between its numerous ministries, state governments, the media, and civil society would enable streamlining of operations.
India and Development Assistance
India has been helping developing nations since its independence in 1947; referring to it as a new player in the world development scene needs to be more accurate. Despite facing development issues, India committed a portion of its limited resources to aid other emerging nations. It chose to share its knowledge and skills in development as an emotional and conceptual act of solidarity with other developing countries. India’s initial development assistance was primarily offered through grants, multiyear loans, and technical help to its neighbors, including Nepal, Burma, and Afghanistan. For instance, in the 1950s, India gave “loans of almost 200 million rupees to Myanmar and 100 million rupees to Nepal.”
India realized that a significant barrier to economic progress was a need for more skilled labor. India, therefore, prioritized enhancing the capabilities of other developing nations by providing financial aid for training programs and scholarships for higher education. For instance, India offered scholarships to students from Asian and African countries in 1949. Since then, India has contributed significantly to global development through scholarships and educational exchange. In addition to bilateral assistance for development between 1947 and 1964, India provided support through the multilateral Colombo Plan for Economic Development and Cooperation in South and Southeast Asia (Colombo Plan), which was established in 1950, and the Special Commonwealth Assistance for Africa Program (SCAAP), which was established in 1960. Moreover, it began funding the United Nations Development Program.
India’s Increasing Participation in Humanitarian Aid
India’s post-conflict contributions are mainly concentrated in three areas: the conflict and post-conflict period, natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, and tsunamis, as well as the aid for COVID-19. India has donated humanitarian help to Ukraine during the conflict, including provisions for children and medical treatment. India also offered assistance to Fiji after storm Yasa devastated the island. The nation has shown greater responsibility in aiding other countries experiencing crises.
India needed to distinguish between support for peace building and development, in contrast to the DAC (Development Assistance Committee) nations. The DAC nations concentrated on closing the “governance gap,” particularly in post-conflict states, while India continued to offer support to reduce “capacity gaps.” Geo-economic considerations have significantly impacted its development and peacebuilding assistance more than political and ideological considerations since its internal economic reforms and a turn towards the neoliberal policy paradigm in the 1990s. Its development aid shifted towards being more commercially focused with “tied credit.”
Since the turn of the century, India has developed into a substantial source of development assistance, even though a sizable portion of its population remains in poverty. It is now part of the non-DAC group of countries, which collectively account for roughly 12 percent of overall aid. According to the International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC), in 2014, India’s development assistance climbed from Rs. 134 million in 1990–1991 to Rs. 1.2 billion in 2012–2013. From Exim Bank’s Line of Credits, it has expanded to Rs. 6.7 billion as of 2018–19 in grants, loans, and interest rate subsidies (LOCs).
Principles for Help in Peace building and Development
The formation of India’s guiding philosophy for its development and peacebuilding assistance was also affected by its emotional and ideological approach to dealing with underdeveloped nations. India’s approach to development and peace building assistance has been influenced by a set of normative and operational principles markedly different from that of the DAC countries. India chose the phrase “development partnership” over “development assistance” or “development cooperation” in the era of globalization. India decided to refer to its connection as a development partnership rather than a donor-recipient one to highlight the egalitarian culture of involvement. Although the guiding concepts are not specified in one text, these are reflected in its administration of development assistance to developing nations.
The distinctive concepts, techniques, and modalities of India’s approach to development and peace building assistance draw attention worldwide. The DAC and non-DRC nations, including India, are working on parallel tracks to provide development and peacebuilding aid because they are wary of one another. It would be advantageous to see the differences as complements to meet the global concerns rather than seeing India’s approach to providing development and peacebuilding aid as a challenge to the DCA’s established frameworks. Instead of carrying on customary techniques of superimposing the economic and governance models of mature and high-income donors of DAC nations, they should draw some lessons from India’s experiences of performing peace building and providing development assistance.
India has demonstrated a different approach to promoting world peace and offering development aid. The benefit to underdeveloped nations is that they now have another source of assistance for development and peacekeeping. Instead of attempting to achieve consistency, the diversity in the field of development and peacebuilding support in the post-conflict states should be acknowledged.
Pakistan Crisis Explained: Multi-faceted Crisis of a Failed State
With less than two weeks of Forex reserve left, Pakistan on 10th Feb failed to attain a 1.1B USD bailout package from IMF (International Monetary Fund), as the country is going through the worst economic crisis in modern times. This grabbed the headlines of several prominent news outlets and became the talk of the town all over south Asia. However, the crisis in Pakistan is not just an economic one but a multi-faceted one comprised of governance, economic, identity and cross-border terrorism crises along with a looming civil war. These events are the results of a series of events spanning back to the early days of independence.
Incompetent Governance and Military Involvement in Legislation
There is a famous phrase used by national and international political experts regarding Pakistan, which is Military over Society. Since its independence in 1947, Pakistan has undergone three military coups and no elected prime minister has ever finished their designated terms. Pak Military officially ruled the country for half of its existence and it is the most powerful institution in Pakistan.
After the first Kashmir war in 1947, the Jinnah administration was governing the country with a constant paranoia over war with India. This made them spend almost 70% of the country’s budget on the military. However, in the crucial year of 1953, the introduction of the Doctrine of Necessity in the constitution pushed Pakistan to its long history of political instability. The doctrine was introduced after the first failed coup attempt (Rawalpindi Conspiracy) in 1951. That year Liaquat Ali Khan, the first PM of Pakistan who opposed this doctrine, was assassinated. This doctrine was later used several times by the army to remove the elected PM and establish dictatorship by the Army generals.
It was in October 1958 that twin coups happened in Pakistan staged in quick succession by Maj-Gen Iskandar Mirza and General Ayub Khan. The first president of Pakistan, Iskandar Mirza, enacted the nation’s first martial law on October 7 and named Ayub Khan as its chief enforcer (CMLA). The CMLA overthrew the president after just 20 days on October 27, 1958, and installed an autocrat to establish a dictatorship that lasted for over 11 years!!
This Doctrine of Necessity was scrapped in 2009, but after all these years the army had taken necessary and irreversible steps to put in its stronghold in national politics. One example of them is the intelligence services of the military (ISI), which have been charged with a variety of widespread human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, and torture. The military has been charged with rigging elections in favour of particular candidates or parties and with influencing public opinion through media manipulation. The Pakistani army has become more politically active in recent years and has increased its influence on civilian governments. The military has been charged with orchestrating the ouster of elected politicians who had displeased it and with using its clout to compel the implementation of policies that favoured its objectives.
Pakistan Economic Crisis & Corruption
Since joining the IMF in 1950, Pakistan has been provided bailouts 13 times and given loan extensions 22 times. According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the country has a total external debt of 116B USD from IMF, Paris Club, Eurobond, Sukuk and China. Above that, the country now faces bankruptcy in 2023 endangering the common citizens. Due to broken legislation, Pakistan saw a massive accumulation of wealth through corruption by only a handful of people who either belongs to the armed forces or alai to them. Tax fraud and money laundering were overlooked by the officials. An example of this is how Pak army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa’s extended and immediate family became billionaires in a span of six years and several army officials have land and businesses all over US and Europe.
Pakistan army as an institution also has a massive amount of wealth at its disposal, being the biggest real estate and construction company in the nation. These along with poor development policies, lead to poor infrastructure which became a massive roadblock to the development and upliftment of citizens. Talented people started migrating to developed nations. The resource-rich region of east Pakistan due to exploitation revolted and later attained freedom. Mine-rich region of Balochistan saw a rise in militant groups due to economic negligence. This resulted in hurting the source of revenue in Pakistan’s economy. Massive international loans were taken to sustain the people-pleasing subsidy policies. Pakistan also started depending on China for its power and transportation infrastructures. A global pandemic following the global recession and the flood of 2022 crippled the Pak economy. Foreign aid and flood donations were mismanaged and almost vanished without any records.
The Struggle for Identities of Different Ethnic Groups
At the time of independence, Pakistan was comprised of five provinces each having a vibrant culture and people with diverse ethnicity. However, in 1955 in an attempt to centralize power Pakistan passed a law that joined the four provinces Sindh, Punjab, NW frontier and Balochistan to form West Pakistan. These steps stripped the individual identities of people of other provinces except Punjab and affected East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) the most by alienating them from the rest of the nation. Negligence of development and exploitation of natural resources in west Pakistan give rise to several protests in that province. But sadly, those voices were suppressed with military action, mass killing and exploiting minorities by arson and rapes. However, in 1971 with the help of the Indian army East Pakistan was liberated and reinstated as Bangladesh, stopping the brutalities.
After the separation of Bangladesh, the capital city shifted from Karachi in Sindh Province to Islamabad in West Punjab. The Sindhi language was deliberately discouraged by the administration and government. Protests were squashed by the military forces. Developments were concentrated only in a handful of places. Despite having an abundance of resources, the Pashtun tribes of the Baloch regions were lacking the basic amenities of the twenty-first century. Minorities of other religions like Hinduism, Sikh and Buddhism were abused and oppressed. Blasphemy punishments, mob lynching, forced conversion and marriages were common occurrences, resulting in a rapid decline in their numbers.
Religious Extremism and Cross-border Terrorism
In 1977 Gen Zia-Ul-Haq conducted a coup and declared himself president. At the time the country was struggling with poverty, class distinction, bad governance and inequality. To gaslight these issues Gen Haq used religious extremism. Islamic radicalization established profound roots and foreign policy is dominated by Islamisation in the 80s. After the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR in 1979, Pakistani ISI struck a deal with the CIA. Under this deal, Pakistan agreed to prepare and train rebel forces to fight with the Soviets for America, giving birth to modern-day proxy warfare. Reports state that more than 5.3 B$ of funding along with guns and ammunition were provided to Pakistan by the USA during this period. Afghan Mujahadeen was the first organization created because of this dirty deal. ISIS, Mujahadeen, Taliban and al-Qaeda are some of the terrorist groups that formed as the byproducts of this proxy operation. However, after the dissolution of the USSR in 1989, these organizations lost their purpose and started to turn against the very entities that helped them establish. These terrorist groups since then orchestrated many attacks all over the world affecting both Muslims and non-Muslims. TTP (Tehrik-E-Taliban Pakistan), and BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army) are some of the organizations that are now fighting against the Pakistan government.
Pakistan Crisis: The Inevitable Crash
With all these factors combined Pakistan faced the inevitable crash, one of the darkest times of its history in recent months. Basic commodities like grain, oil and cooking gas are getting more expensive. People are fighting in the streets and chasing trucks for a bag of grains. Filling cooking gas with balloons while risking their lives. News of the death of police or armed forces by militants has now become a common occurrence. On 30th January of this year, 101 people were killed in a suicide bombing in a mosque in Peshawar by TTP. Balochistan separatists have already declared the region independent and POK officials already started demanding their merger with India.
Surprisingly, amongst all this chaos, the luxury goods such as branded cars, designer handbags and iPhone imports increased substantially in the year 2022. On the opening day of the expensive coffee chain Tim Hortons, Pakistani elites broke the record by forming the longest queue. This shows the petrifying contrast between the nation of Pakistan and shows how Pakistan as a nation failed its citizens.
Brutal Assault on the Brazilian Government
Many believed that thousands of Jair Bolsonaro’s followers assaulted Congress, the presidential mansion, and the highest court in Brasilia on Sunday to start a military coup. Since President LuizInácio Lula da Silva triumphed in a closely fought runoff election on October 30, many Bolsonaro supporters have pleaded with the military to intervene. After a divisive campaign highlighting the country’s bitter divisions, it was the most significant attack on Brazil’s key institutions since the end of a military dictatorship and the return to democracy in the 1980s. Here is what you need to know about brutal assault on the Brazilian government.
Why was the election such a spectacular event:
This election was so dramatic because it depicted two enormous characters representing opposites in politics. Leftist Lula, a former labor union leader, is admired by those who credit him with putting policies in place that lifted millions out of poverty during his two terms in power from 2003 to 2011, but despised by those who see him as a symbol of corruption. In 2017, he was found guilty of corruption and money laundering and was given a nearly 10-year prison term. He was a 77-year-old cancer survivor who was released in 2019 following the adoption of a new detention policy by the Supreme Court. The Court later overturned his conviction on procedural grounds in 2021. Former army captain Bolsonaro, 67, has been hospitalized several times since being stabbed while campaigning in 2018. His supporters view him as a defender of traditional family values and a campaigner against corruption, which are crucial campaign issues in a predominantly conservative country. The president’s opponents have referred to him as a far-right authoritarian and said he has promoted sexism, racism, and homophobia.
How did the vote count turn out:
Lula won the runoff election by a razor-thin margin of 51% to 49% over Bolsonaro. He entered office on January 1 with the promise of uniting a nation whose divides had, if anything, grown worse throughout the campaign. On the day Lula was validated, Bolsonaro supporters set fire to vehicles in the city’s downtown area, and in late December, a device was discovered in a fuel truck close to the airport.
Why were Bolsonaro’s followers calling for military action
Bolsonaro’s supporters want the military to intervene because, during the election campaign last year, Bolsonaro and his allies spread a significant amount of false information and made snide remarks about the political process. When the country’s long-established electronic voting system was attacked with unsubstantiated accusations by the then-president, his supporters began to question the validity of the results. Conflicts with the country’s courts arose as a result. Even though his followers organized sizable rallies and spread conspiracies, Bolsonaro waited two days after the runoff to make an unclear speech and has never publicly admitted defeat.
After the election, What did his followers do:
In the days following the election, trucks were used to block roadways all around the nation before being removed on a court order. Then, in anticipation of a military intervention they believed Bolsonaro, who frequently talked favorably of Brazil’s previous dictatorship, had hinted at in his rallies, crowds of supporters started to amass outside army headquarters across the nation. Even when Lula assumed power, hundreds still camped outside the bases.
What transpired in Brazil:
In Brasilia, On January 8, tens of thousands of rioters assaulted Congress, the presidential palace, and the Supreme Court, leaving a path of devastation with many clad in Brazilian flags or sporting the yellow and green national jersey. Historic structures were defaced, while journalists and police officers came under attack. The palaces’ windows were broken by furniture being hurled through them. The doors to the closet where Judge Moraes’ robes were stored were pulled off, and the justice’s chairs in the highest court were thrown around. Videos online showed the vandals carrying the piece of wood bearing the justice’s name as if it were a trophy. Several works of art were torn or scratched, including the well-known 20th-century painter Di Cavalcanti’s painting Asmulatas.
What were people’s responses to the attack:
Members of the military police began removing the rioters from the buildings after they had been free to wander for around three hours. It took another four hours for the attackers to leave the area. While in Sao Paulo to assess the effects of the recent torrential rains, Lula delivered an enraged address in which he demanded immediate intervention in the Federal District government. He accused Bolsanaro of being the reason for the disturbance and pledged to punish anyone who took part or helped finance it. After clearing the premises of the rioters, Bolsonaro denounced the “depredations and invasions of public facilities, but claimed that the incident was comparable to acts done by the left in 2013 and 2017. Both of those years saw sizable but significantly less violent public demonstrations. Bolsonaro denied Lula’s accusation that he was complicit. Moraes also ordered the removal of the encampments in front of the army headquarters, which resulted in around 1,500 arrests, and suspended the Bolsonaro-supporting governor of the Federal District for 90 days at the same time.
Numerous inquiries started practically right away, and more are currently being explored. The Federal District’s civil police kept track of the several people detained following the riot. The federal police and the federal highway police are looking into who may have helped Bolsonaro’s supporters set up camp in front of the army headquarters for such a long time, as well as the funding of the buses that transported rioters from other states to Brasilia. To receive information about people accountable for the turmoil on January 8, the Ministry of Justice set up a dedicated email account. The municipal and federal governments are conducting internal investigations to look into potential collusion between the security officers and the vandals. It’s being discussed to launch a congressional investigation in February.
China Increase its Presence in Nepal While Prachanda is in Power
With their numerous run-ins with the Indian administration, “Pro-China” Prachanda and KP Sharma Oli have hinted at an uncertain future for India-Nepal relations. On December 26, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, reclaimed his position as prime minister of Nepal by teaming up with the late KP Sharma Oli. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) is led by Prachanda, while Oli leads the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist).
As both communist leaders are primarily believed to have a pro-China stance, the Prachanda-Oli combination taking power in Kathmandu is a reason for concern for India’s strategic interests. This occurs when China and India compete for geopolitical power in Nepal.
How was the Prachanda-Oli Team Able to Make a Comeback?
Nepal has experienced frequent government transitions for many years due to weak coalition governments. These alliances have included different mixes of parties.In one such alliance from July 2021 until December 2022, Sher Bahadur Deuba’s Nepali Congress party and Prachanda’s Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) were both center-left parties. The time when Deuba served as prime minister. In the election held on November 20, this partnership, however, fell short of securing a parliamentary majority. Deuba turned down Prachanda’s proposal for the prime ministerial post during talks to create the next administration.
Then, Prachanda left the group to join forces with the Communist Party of Nepal, led by the former prime minister and opponent Oli (Unified Marxist-Leninist). They were joined by a few smaller parties as well. The pair returned to power thanks to rekindling a coalition between the two largest communist parties in Nepal. In addition, the two established a partnership and controlled Nepal between 2018 and 2021.
How Does China’s Expanding Footprint in Nepal Affect India
The Prachanda-Oli administration “will not be as sympathetic to India as the Deuba administration,” according to Harsh V Pant, vice president of studies and foreign policy at the Observer Research Foundation. According to Nepali scholar and journalist Akanshya Shah, Delhi would have preferred the earlier alliance between the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), as the two communist parties’ reunion benefits China.
According to experts, China is thought to have had a significant role in the 2018–2021 period in uniting the two communist parties since it favors a communist-run government in Kathmandu. In support of their argument, experts point out how China entered Nepal strategically between 2018 and 2021. This has increased India’s worries that as Nepal develops closer connections with Beijing, Kathmandu may prioritize Chinese interests at the expense of Indian ones.
Prachanda is also reported to have a close relationship with the Communist Party of China directly. As an illustration, when Prachanda took office as Nepal’s prime minister for the first time in 2008, he defied precedent by making China his first official foreign destination rather than India.Ideology is crucial in determining how Nepal’s domestic politics influence its foreign policy. Marxist-Maoists who are ideologically closer to the Chinese communist party are likely to run for president, speaker of the house, and prime minister again; therefore, this would undoubtedly impact India, especially the governing BJP.
However, future relations between India and Nepal do have potential. The direction of the relationship is a source of concern. Still, the new Nepali administration will work to strike a balance between India and China and take a more practical approach to relations. As working with India is in Nepal’s best interest, it is unlikely to be an issue for India in the long run. India will now attempt to communicate with the newly elected Nepalese government.
Additionally, Delhi should prioritize religious and cultural affinities, interact with all segments of Nepal’s political spectrum, and capitalize on the goodwill generated by the 2015 earthquake reconstruction and Covid-19 pandemic to help forge stronger ties with Kathmandu.
Also Read: Expansionist China Intruding its Neighbors; This Time it’s Bhutan
What is Prachanda-background Oli’s with Delhi in terms of Hostility?
There has always been conflict. Prachanda and Oli, who previously oversaw an ultra-leftist uprising in Nepal, have had numerous run-ins with Delhi over the years. India has experienced discomfort due to such friction on multiple occasions. Several actions were taken by the previous Oli-Prachanda administration.
Kathmandu had raised an India-Nepal border dispute during their 2018–2021 coalition when India concentrated on the military standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control in 2020. The country’s parliament adopted a startling new political map of Nepal, including parts of Uttarakhand. Delhi had cautioned Nepal against “artificially enlarging” its territorial claims.
Prachanda has already sparked a different border conflict along the Nepal-Bihar border by claiming territory that India claims belongs to it. Worse still, Prachanda wanted a revision of the 1950 Friendship Treaty, which serves as the foundation for cooperation between the two neighbors in matters of defense and foreign affairs. He made the same demand again in July because he thought the deal was biased in India’s favor.
The 2015 Madhesi agitation was another critical issue in which Prachanda-Oli and Delhi took different positions. India took exception to the final version of Nepal’s proposed Constitution because it failed to address the concerns of the Madhesi and Tharu ethnic groups about being marginalized. The two populations, concentrated along the Indian border, have a close cultural connection to India. A Madhesi alliance had Prachanda’s initial support, but he unexpectedly changed his position, leaving the group politically isolated. Delhi did not appreciate this abandonment.
In retaliation, the Modi administration imposed a six-month blockade on Nepal, which led to severe shortages in the landlocked nation. Oli, the prime minister at the time, accused India of aiding the blockage to overcome the connection difficulty. India was considerably more worried about this. Only when Deuba’s coalition overthrew Oli in 2021 did relations improve. Similar to how he did it in 2016, Oli claimed that India was planning to overthrow his government.
The Chinese Communist Party: Endangering World Peace and Stability
The main threat now comes from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which undermines global stability in order to further its own hegemonic goals. The People’s Republic of China (PRC), which is governed by the CCP, is not a model global citizen despite attempts to defend its nefarious deeds. The CCP, which is led by General Secretary Xi Jinping, is elevating its position at the expense of others in at least six ways:
Economic Abuses that Are Predatory
Through extensive subsidies to favored businesses, intellectual property theft, forced tech transfer, and unethical trade and investment activities, the PRC violates its obligations to the World Trade Organization as well as global norms and standards. To gain unfair market access, CCP-controlled businesses undersell. Through fraudulent lending practices and disregard for international labor and environmental standards, the One Belt One Road Initiative (BRI or OBOR) preys on neighboring nations. The PRC damages the economies of other countries, tramples on the rule of law, invades the sovereign territory, unfairly advantages Chinese workers and businesses, and uses economic pressure to intimidate governments over unrelated political and strategic problems.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is to be transformed into a “world-class military” by the year 2049, according to the PRC’s Military-Civil Fusion policy, which calls for appropriating cutting-edge domestic and foreign civilian technology. Through BRI and agreements for military cooperation, the PLA aims to project force globally in order to both rule the Indo-Pacific region and confront the United States on a global scale. Beijing keeps up the pace of its covert nuclear arsenal development, which might result in a ten-year trebling of its stockpile. By deploying its military to intimidate its neighbors, threaten marine trading channels, and destabilize boundaries, Beijing raises the likelihood of confrontation from the South China Sea to the Himalayas.
Also Read: The Armed Forces of the Chinese Communist Party a Steel Shelled Turtle
Global Norms and Values Undercut
By breaking its obligations and using international organizations to further its own unilateral strategic objectives, such as establishing a new world order ruled by the CCP, the PRC damages the international system. The PRC frequently inserts language into international agreements that advance the party’s authoritarian philosophy and goals, and it threatens nations who disagree. BRI and other PRC schemes encourage corruption, undermine positive growth, and place recipients under unmanageable debt loads.
Coercive Techniques Used Abroad
Global propaganda was disseminated by CCP-controlled media, which also influenced international news and entertainment outlets to support its dogma. The CCP’s United Front Work Department and allied proxies coerce and co-opt foreign officials at all levels of government, the Chinese diaspora, and economic interests to back its bogus narratives and steer clear of subjects the Party finds humiliating. By encouraging foreign researchers to engage in dishonest and illegal activities for the PRC’s economic, scientific, and military objectives, the CCP’s presence on foreign campuses undermines academic freedom and the integrity and security of the global research industry. The CCP coerces and bribes foreign governments to choose PRC-based 5G providers like Huawei and ZTE in order to acquire access to private information, intellectual property, and the management of vital infrastructure.
Abandonment of Human Rights
Driven by Marxist-Leninist ideology and imperialist nostalgia, the CCP stifles dissent and limits the rights and freedoms of Chinese citizens, including through forced population control, arbitrary detention, censorship, and forced labor, violations of religious freedom, and pervasive media and internet censorship. Uyghurs, Christians, and other racial and ethnic minorities continue to be victimized by the CCP’s excesses. It continues to exert control over Hong Kong and keep foreign critics quiet while maintaining an iron grip over Tibet. To hide its violations of human rights at home and abroad, the CCP utilizes international organizations, democratically elected governments, and businesses as pawns.
The PRC’s record on environmental issues is appalling. China is the biggest annual producer of greenhouse gases and marine debris in the world, as well as the biggest builder and financier of dirty coal-burning power plants. It also engages in the worst illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and is the biggest consumer of illegal wildlife and timber products in the world, to name a few. Beijing’s unrestrained exploitation of natural resources and exportation of its careless disdain for the environment via BRI endangers the global economy and public health.
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