OnPoint by Keith Ng


D11: Chennai to Bangalore

I miss New Zealand. I miss things like, the other day, when Stuff had a photo of a duck with a needle through its neck, captioned: "Concerns mount for the safety of the duck..."

Meanwhile in India, the nation is beginning to forget about the serial child-killer(s) in the north, turning its attention instead to the ethnic cleansing death squads in Assam. The child-killer case grabbed the national conscience for quite a while (and it's most certainly not over yet), as the suspects are a rich guy and his servant, while the victims are the children of the slum dwellers who live nearby, people who make their living serving their rich neighbours. Meanwhile, members of the Assam (one of the northern states, the bit of India that pokes out between Bangladesh and Bhutan) secessionist have allegedly been responsible for death squads that target Hindi-speaking migrants (your usual migrant labourers - poor and vulnerable). Conspiracy theories are abound; the wilder ones say that the killings are actually being conducted by the government to discredit the Assam nationalists; another one is that by driving the Hindi-speaking labourers out, they're creating a vacuum for Bangladeshi (Muslim) migrants, which will strengthen the Muslim population's hand and allow Bangladesh to eventually annex the state.

So... is the duck okay? I hope it's okay.

In the meantime, I need your help. I'm currently waiting for a train to Bangalore, where I will be attending the Confederation of Indian Industry's 2007 Partnership Summit. There will be a heap of ministers, business people and think-tank boffins there, talking about the world at large, and India in particular. Gordon Brown will be present, amongst others, but with the crowds of delegates and media present, I doubt I'll be able to make it into throwing distance of the man.

But hopefully I'll be reporting for New Zealand. So, what do you want to know? Who do you want to hear from? What do you want me to find out? Check out the programme, and I get particular interest in a speaker, I'll try to post a recording (again, don't know how close I'll be able to get).

Please let me know what you think via the PA System.

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