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Bangla-Myanmar crisis and India-Canada tensions

The Bangladesh Border Guard has increased the state of readiness along the 271km border with Myanmar (formerly: Burma). For weeks, shootings and shelling have been ongoing , in the border region on the Myanmar side of the border, which experts believe could be the local army’s way of pushing more Rohingyas, a Muslim ethnic group, into Bangladesh. The Myanmar shelling has exacerbated tensions between neighbours, raising fears of a new exodus of Rohingyas to Bangladesh, and reducing the chances of their return to Myanmar. The Bangladeshi government has sealed the border to prevent a further influx of refugees.

Myanmar’s army attacked, using helicopters, a school in Sikong province where rebels from the People’s Defence Forces, opponents to the ruling military junta following the coup, were believed to be hiding. The shelling resulted in the deaths of 11 children. The regime is forcibly crushing social resistance – in March this year the junta allegedly held 10,000 political prisoners, and in July the regime carried out its first executions in 30 years, the victims of which were four democracy activists.

Thousands of Sikhs living in Canada took part in an unofficial vote called the ”Khalistan referendum”, expressing support for a separate Sikh nation state in northern India. It would be created by separating the state of Punjab, the only Sikh-majority state in the country, from India. The Indian Foreign Ministry has accused Canada of enabling extremists to carry out “deeply controversial” and “politically motivated actions” that pose a threat to India’s integrity.

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