Extrajudicial execution, enforced disappearance and torture - these are the tools used by death squads across South Asia. Across the region, human rights abuses are perpetrated behind the closed doors by the 'jallad', or hangmen, of secret detention facilities, while death squads roam the streets with impunity.
By using first-hand experience and newly discovered sources, Tasneem Khalil connects these abuses to a disturbing fact - that Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are national security states connected to an international system of state terror, patronised by sponsors like the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Israel.
Looking at infamous 'enforcers' such as The Rapid Action Battalion of Bangladesh, the 'encounter specialists' of India, army units of Nepal, the Frontier Corps of Pakistan and 'the men in white vans' of Sri Lanka, Khalil reveals a huge system of specialists in violence deployed by the state in campaigns of state terror, a bloody logic of domination and repression that lies at the very core of statecraft in South Asia.
Tasneem Khalil is an exiled Bangladeshi journalist who previously worked for The Daily Star, CNN, Human Rights Watch and has written for the International Herald Tribune, NPR, Guardian, Washington Post and BBC and is the author of Jallad: Death Squads and State Terror in South Asia (Pluto, 2015). He was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International in 2007, following his detention by the Bangladeshi military intelligence agency. In 2008, Swedish PEN conferred him with an honorary membership for his journalism.
1. Introduction: After the colony 2. Bangladesh: Men in black 3. India: Brutal encounters 4. Nepal: The royal army 5. Pakistan: Agents of the state 6. Sri Lanka: White vans 7. State terror in postcolonial South Asia 8. Specialists on violence 9. International system of state terror 10. A note from the torture chamber Notes Index