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Asia Pacific

People's Movements to Intervene into Electoral Arena as Complementary to non-electoral Politics

Election campaign in India

NAPM Convening Team Holds Dialogue with AAP Leadership... New Delhi, January 17 : National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) held its two day National Convening Team (NCT) meeting on January 16-17 at its national office in Delhi to discuss the need and repurcussions of direct intervention in to electoral politics as well the issue of support to Aam Aadmi Party. The meeting was in continuation of the NAPM Western region meeting on January 12 in Mumbai and NAPM Bihar, Kerala, Tamilnadu, West Bengal and other state level meetings. NCT discussed the issue of 'active support' to Aam Aadmi Party, mechanism to ensure dialogue with the movements by AAP, and social movements intervention in the electoral process by contesting elections.

The members present felt that today the many of the existing political parties have agreement on a common agenda on the anti-people reforms, criminal and corporate loot of natural resources, use of money and muscle power in elections, complete negligence of the people's issues and absence of political propriety and tolerance for divergent views and diversity in life. People's power is denounced by most of the political parties and politicians in violation of the constitutional rights and privileges. This has resulted in a situation where the space for democratic movements and dissent have been decreasing, State repression has increased leading to victimisation of activists and non-violent democratic movements. Fundamentalism and communalism has also been on the rise leading to rising fear among minorities and secular sections.

This has necessitated a need for those engaged in the 'alternative movement politics' to also now intervene in the electoral processes by contesting elections on the platform of socially conscious and pro-people political parties. This 'alternative electoral politics' is to be seen as a part of our wider movements for social and political transformation. The relationship between the State and its people; the character of the politics need to be changed, making the governance pro-people.

In this scenario AAP have enthused people and shown a ray of hope to many by raising people's issues reflecting values of equity and justice and has attempted developing a new vocabulary of change and politics on the agenda of governance and anti-corruption. Late in the evening on January 16, Yogendra Yadav and Ajit Jha of Aam Aadmi Party held deliberations with the National Convening Team of NAPM, and Shri Prashant Bhushan earlier, and had extensive dialogue on the different issues arising out of the meeting. NAPM team raised and sought clarification on AAP's position on certain issues related to adivasis, dalits, displaced, urban poor, farmers, women and their livelihood issues. After the meeting it was resolved that :

Most of the people's movements allied with NAPM believe that and welcome AAP as a process towards an alternative politics. They will extend support to those AAP candidates that concede with the local people's issues and support people's organisations. Every people's organisation allied with NAPM has its own individual identity and hence decisions regarding its relationship with electoral processes and intervention will be their own. Those organisations like Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) of Assam, which don't intend to intervene into electoral politics will continue to tread the path of movement.

Those movements groups who are in support of AAP will actively : - take part in membership drive of AAP - be part of committees at different levels - and contribute to the process of manifesto making.

A certain number of senior activists with strong mass base and experience of constructive work to social action will seek extensive consultation with their movement comrades and wider populace in their area before filing applications for candidature in forthcoming Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections through AAP and will contest if selected through democratic process. A collective mechanism with AAP would be evolved in the due course of time where a process of dialogue and negotiations on the key social issues and policies can be held.

NAPM also resolved that an internal monitoring committee will be established for accountability of those members of people's movements who will join the party and contest elections so that they remain true to ideals held by NAPM. It was also reiterated that National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), a non-party political platform, will continue to retain its independent identity and struggle against injustice, inequity and discrimination and work for peace, justice and freedom as always.

The meeting was attended by Medha Patkar (Narmada Bachao Andolan-NAPM), Arundhati Dhuru and CM Yadav (NAPM-UP), Ashish Ranjan (Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, Bihar), Prafulla Samantara (Lok Shakti Abhiyan), Dr. Sunilam (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, MP), Akhil Gogoi (KMSS, Assam), Dayamani Barla (Adivasi Mulvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, Jharkhand), Sumit Wajale (Ghar bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai), Prasad Bagwe (Ekvira Jamin Bachao Andolan, Maharashtra), Kailash Meena (NAPM Rajsthan), Bhupender Singh Rawat (Jan Sangharsh Vahini, Delhi), Vimal Bhai (Matu Jan Sangathan, Uttarakhand), Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar, Seela M (NAPM Delhi).

A meeting of NAPM and other movement groups are scheduled to be held on January 23-24th in Wardha, Maharashtra where some of the issues of people's movements and electoral politics will be discussed. For details contact : 9818905316 / 9212587159

Road Map for Swaraj : East Delhi Take Away

Special Contribution
By Rakesh Manchanda

Vyavastha Parivartan

About Author : Has worked in India and several countries and now is a full time supporter of AAP in Delhi and North India monitoring the historical people movement for a Swaraj and is also applying for Aam Admi inhouse contest for Lok Sabha candidate-East Delhi Time is changing fast and so is the public attitude towards Dilli life and survival. Empowerment is the new visible electro- magnet force firing people to join AAP movement. Selection of the Candidate for the coming Lok Sabha had never been under such a sharp microscope of public scrutiny. With emergence of new breeze called Aam Admi Party the selection process for contesting candidates even within the Aam Admi party is changing fast.

So what is new ? Let us revisit the recent past. Auction of MP tickets in hush ! hush ! manner in a close party headquarters was the old accepted norm. The old hidden buzz word was that if `this` candidate is giving Rupees three crores as party fund in cash he stands disqualified. Why ? coz another powerful businessman candidate under the mask of a politician has offered four crores. No one in the traditional political parties was bothered to send the candidate first to the people for seeking their recommendation.

New party AAP claims to outsmart this corrupt old tradition of `match fixing`. It throws a fresh format of a genuine future selection procedures for an MP in the coming Lok Sabha. The aspiring candidates are asked to submit 1000 signatures from the constituency with 100 each from each assembly. Let us sample the activity at ground zero. There are 10 Vidhan Sabha segments say in East Delhi constituency in line with the EC Directives. AAP applicant needs to submit a proposal with full details of 100 persons in each Vidhan Sabha. This intelligent move although in conventional competitive market format promises a new trend for fair, transparent and an honest competition among the possible candidates applying to be the leader or the representative/ `sevak` of the people and aspiring to be a AAP Lok Sabha candidate. At the work sites the situation is worst. The grievances of poor in jhuggi and slums stand bleeding and unsolved. Common problems in abundance observed in the East Delhi are poor sanitation, no toilets, no pucca house, no ration card, overcharged power and water bills, no adequate street lights, underpaid wages, broken street lamps, no proper roads, pension on papers but in actual pension stopped since years and unsafe women citizens and so on and so forth.

Let us examine few micro details with evidences : There are no toilets in Indra Camp,Kayanpuri-Vidhan Sabha Kondli. AAP new volunteer Shri Gulshan and the community chief with women voters tell how the authorities in 2011 had demolished the only public toilet of 32 seats for 10,000/- voters residing here in this Jhuggi. Since past 3 years all men, women and children are forced to go out for unsafe toilet in open in this small segment of Kondli Vidhan Sabha. AAP needs to update volunteers on holistic lines. How a safe toilet is responsible for better health of people ? There are `eye opener` studies conducted and published by The Hindu Newspaper in the past as to how and why the `height` of teenager going out for toilet in India-Africa remains short. Why in Delhi more then half the population go out in open to excrete and urinate with an unsafe health communication ? On communication front why the SIM card for a mobile is offered free by sellers but going to public toilet it costs more ?

Another new activist and Zulekha Begum of Krishna Nagar who had been working for years on women issues needs AAP help to put pressure on Police to cooperate and do justice on domestic violence cases along with encroachment and bank loan issues against house papers of several women members and volunteers. Zulekha lost her husband a street fruit vendour who was bashed to death by police on having refused to pay Rs.500/- weekly bribe. Shree Gopal Sahu a visually handicapped but politically awakened old supporter of AAP residing in Ravi Dass Camp,Patparganj tells in detail how Shri Arvind Kejriwal in 2006 motivated him for betterment.

List of grievances are different in East Delhi middle class. Here people want AAP not to trust the poor Jhuggi dwellers. Interestingly same set of voters not ready to run their daily works without maids, drivers, plumbers and vegetable vendors all who reside in nearby slums. Few supporters caution my AAP team with their old reasons as to why according to them the oral contract workers should be never be made permanent. What they miss to explain is why they have failed to be the wise masters to monitor and motivate productivity at worksites via servants. They also fail to explain as to how can the rapes and chain snatching and robbery stop when under Delhi Government and MCD schools the contractors are free to collect signed salary of school guards fixed at Rs.10,252/- but in actual the employee is given only Rs.5000/- per month.

Both the poor and middle class need to improve their trust,relationship and dependency for better and safe Delhi. As a learning student of Vyavastha Parivartan allow me to sum up my `Take Away` from East Delhi supporters : The mind set of the Aam Admi is still searching a hero or a powerful leader to do magic and to deliver. Result ? my team gets endless urgent phone calls to reach and to settle the mentioned issues fast. My `funda` of Swaraj stands simple. People need to be self dependent. Getting united on common issues after understanding the `unity` of their own `body organs` can holistically help. Outsourcing help by people should be allowed only when the accidental body in emergency needs external blood which means when there is a police and hospital deadlock and the government institute refuses to deliver support.

Few voters want AAP to help their father leave alcohol drink habit. We cannot run for outsourcing help on getting minor cuts on our body say while shaving so such calls need to be attended by the victim`s kiths-kins and neighbours. People must initiate solutions locally. To overcome distress or when situation needs external pressure at police station or at the hospital for emergency admission the AAP outsourced call and help speaks sense. People accustomed to the old corrupt delivery system controlled by a single leader and Neta`s old corrupt network are still not ready to outsource help from outside their environment.Public is slow in recognizing their collective ownership rights. AAP new political breeze is welcomed but still there are no enough goal shooters, goal savers,navigators and rank and file members in slums and even higher middle class.This means energy transformation for a new system is also slow.Much energy due to no organised movement still stand outside untapped and unused. AAP help lines are serving good by the new government but are unable to provide local trained trouble shooters and vanguards in time.

Need of the hour is to consolidate or to build mohalla samatti or organise Local peoples to shoot the emergency troubles.AAP needs to work on a uniform Swaraj format and evolve a guideline mechanism for fire fighting with better organisational handling. This brings us back to the moot question as how can the Selection process of the people will be better and more transparent ?- To choose the correct future `Savak` or Aam Admi candidate for election of MP/MLA, Corporater and future new Mohalla Samittis representatives. Newer and better Delhi is bound to bounce back in near future with Swaraj-Self Rule or Peoples Raj.

Security agents assault UBCV monk Thich Chon Tam and pursue crack-down on UBCV

UBCV monk Thich Chon Tam

PARIS, 14.01.2014 (IBIB) – At 8:00am this morning (Vietnam time), Venerable Thich Chon Tam of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) was intercepted and assaulted by plain-clothed Security agents as he was riding his motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). As he stopped at a red traffic light near Nguyen Van Cu bridge, a car pulled up in front of him (number plate 55 P8 4324). Another car then rammed into his motorbike from behind. Plain-clothed security agents got out and began to assault him. Thich Chon Tam cried out loud and appealed for help from passers-by. As a crowd began to gather, a third car suddenly pulled up and a man - ostensibly their chief – told the agents to move on: “that’s enough for now”, he said.

Thich Chon Tam, who is the newly-appointed Secretary-general of the UBCV’s Institute of the Sangha and assistant to the Patriarch Thich Quang Do, has been the target of close Police surveillance and harassments for several days. On 8 January, he was expelled from Hue by Security Police and forced to return to Saigon after he attempted to attend a UBCV commemoration service. Since then, Police keep permanent watch on the Tu Hieu Pagoda in Saigon where he is in temporary residence, and follow him wherever he goes. In an urgent communication to the International Buddhist Information Bureau (IBIB) this morning, Thich Chon Tam wrote: “How can Vietnam host UN International Vesak Day when Police beat and intimidate Buddhist monks in broad daylight on the streets of Saigon?”

Crack-down on the UBCV

Police harassment of Thich Chon Tam is not an isolated incident. It is part of an on-going crack-down on members of the new UBCV executive announced by Thich Quang Do in early January 2014. Repression has been particularly harsh in Hue, where Police prevented the new UBCV Deputy leader Thich Nhu Dat from organizing a Memorial Day ceremony on 10 January at Long Quang Pagoda, the UBCV’s new secretariat.

Thich Nhu Dat told IBIB that Police had systematically intercepted and threatened 300 UBCV monks, nuns and youth leaders from all over southern and central Vietnam who were invited to attend the ceremony. Police controls were set up at the airport and train station, as well as numerous blockades on the roads from Highway No. 1 to the Pagoda’s entrance. Over 100 Police surrounded Long Quang Pagoda, and several leaders of the UBCV youth movement were threatened, harassed and placed under house arrest (see below).

Thich Nhu Dat said that he and his monks went ahead with the ceremony despite the ban, and were determined not to give in to Police intimidation. “They told us we could not celebrate Memorial Day because (a) The UBCV is banned (b) all who follow the UBCV are breaking the law, and (c) Thich Nhu Dat is a reactionary monk”. The truth is that the UBCV cares about the sufferings of the Vietnamese people. We call for human rights, not only for the Buddhists but for 90 million Vietnamese. I may be “reactionary” in the eyes of the Police, but that won’t stop me supporting the UBCV’s peaceful movement for religious freedom and human rights led by our Patriarch Thich Quang Do”.

“With just one signature we can throw you in jail !”

The leader of the UBCV Buddhist Youth Movement and newly-appointed Secretary-general of the UBCV’s Executive Institute Lê Cong Cau was arrested in this crack-down on 1 January 2014 and remains under house arrest today. He is forbidden to go outside or receive visits. Police are stationed outside his door and he is subjected to “working sessions” (interrogations) twice each day. Police threaten to imprison him if he does not step down from his post in the UBCV. At the end of each working session, the Security Police warn: “With just one signature we can throw you in jail”.

So far, 23 Buddhist Youth Movement leaders have been arrested in this crack-down and are currently under house arrest in Hue. They are: Ho Nguyen Minh, Y, Ho Van Nich, Hoang Nhu Dao, Hoang Tanh, Hoang Thi Hong Phuong, Lê Cong Cau, Lê Nhat Thinh, Lê Van Thanh, Ngo Duc Tien, Nguyen Chien, Nguyen Dinh Mong, Nguyen Duc Khoa, Nguyen Sac, Nguyen Tat Truc, Nguyen Thi Huong, Nguyen Van De, Truong Dien Hieu, Truong Minh Dung, Truong Trong Thao, Van Dinh An, Van Dinh Tat, Van Thi Hieu, Van Tien Nhi.

UBCV nun Thich Nu Dong Hieu is beaten by Police in Danang

At 4:00am on 10 January 2014, as Venerable Thich Thanh Quang and a young nun, Thich Nu Dong Hieu from the Giac Minh Pagoda in Danang called a car to take them to Hue for the Memorial Day service, Security Police surrounded the Pagoda and pushed them back inside At 7:00am, a crowd of Security Police broke into the Pagoda again, shouting insults and rudely. When Thich Thanh Quang ordered them to leave the premises, a burly Security officer violently attacked Thich Nu Dong Hieu, slapping her repeatedly in the face until she fainted.

The International Buddhist Information Bureau deplores Police harassment of peaceful Buddhist followers. Vietnam is a state party to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and has a binding obligation to respect religious freedom. IBIB calls on the international community to call for specific improvements in freedom of religion or belief with the Vietnamese government at its upcoming Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council next month, notably the re-establishment of the UBCV’s legitimate status, the release of UBCV leader Thich Quang Do and all others detained for the peaceful exercise of their religious beliefs.


Special Contribution
By Roland Watson(dictatorwatch)
Jan 6, 2014

2010 Myanmar Election announced by State Media as foreign reporters are not allowed


Two weeks ago, hundreds of thousands of Cambodians demonstrated in PhnomPenh. They were protesting last July’s national ballot, which wasfraudulent - rigged to keep Hun Sen, the dictator of the country since1985, in power. The Cambodians want a new, free and fair election. Hun Sen has now launched a crackdown, and a number of protestors have beenmurdered. Next door to Cambodia, hundreds of thousands of Thais are alsodemonstrating, demanding that an election that is set for February 2nd nottake place. They know that this election too will be fraudulent, anddesigned to enable the dictator of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, to retainpower through his sister Yingluck and other proxies.

What these two situations show, and what the Thais have finally realized,is that it is better to prevent fraud rather than allow it to take placeand then have to reverse it. Simply holding an election, even if theevidence of vote buying and other types of illegal activities isoverwhelming, creates an air of legitimacy that the regime and its allies,both political and media, can then exploit. Congratulations to the Thaisfor no longer accepting the travesty of being ruled from abroad by acommon criminal! An election is also planned for Burma, for 2015. This election, as withthe last general election in 2010, is guaranteed to be fraudulent as well,and in many different ways. Burma’s military dictators have no intentionwhatsoever to relinquish power. The people of the country therefore needto organize their own overwhelming protest, to guarantee that the ballotis not held.

Than Shwe’s strategy

What the election signifies is that we are now approaching the finalstages of Senior General Than Shwe’s strategy. It is essential that thepeople understand his plan, to have the best chance to defeat it. Ineffect, there is a decisive game of chess underway in the country, and theregime is plotting its moves well in advance. The people need to be awareof these moves, to position themselves accordingly, so they can win thegame, meaning: their freedom. Than Shwe’s overall approach is what is known as pacification. He has manydifferent opponents among the people of Burma and their allies, and heneeds to confront them all, so they end their resistance and are pacified.He has applied this tactic with various steps directed at theInternational Community; Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League forDemocracy; other activists including 88 Generation; the ethnicnationalities; and the general public.

The International Community

Than Shwe’s no fool. He understands human nature pretty well. He knowsthat people, and their governments and leaders, are selfish, and that theywill rarely take risks for themselves, much less others. Burma is aninherently wealthy nation, both in natural and human resources, and thecorporations of the world, and the national governments that they control,covet this wealth. It has been easy for the companies to get nationalofficials to back a pro-appeasement and economic development policy.Victims of the regime have rarely been shown on TV, and in any case it isnot only Burma that’s corrupt. The whole world is corrupt. There was never any significant foreign support for the people of Burma,much less an intervention. The only thing that the people have received isa lot of useless “diplomatic concern.”

Then, with the simplest of lies - we’ve taken off our uniforms and are nowfor “reform” - coupled with playing China against the West for the spoilsof Burma’s corporate piracy, Than Shwe was able to end this “only forshow” support. The one international bulwark in any case had been theUnited States, and he effectively turned its latest President, BarackObama, into his co-conspirator. With Obama facing an economic crisis inAmerica, and a Republican opposition that was overtly obstructionist, itwas clear that foreign affairs would be downplayed in his Administration.Coupled with his lack of experience in international affairs, and also hisdesire for a foreign policy “victory,” the stage was set to accept theregime’s lie. He and Secretary of State Clinton embraced the charade,dropped the economic sanctions, and the Burma Gold Rush began. For theUnited States under this President, the regime’s continuing gross humanrights violations against the Kachin, the Rohingya, other ethnic groups,and the overall public, are only something to ignore.

Aung San Suu Kyi

The greatest gift from the International Community to Burma’s militarydictators, though, was the Nobel Peace Prize for Aung San Suu Kyi. First,this established her as Burma’s “pro-democracy” leader, which she in noway deserved merely through being General Aung San’s daughter. In 1989,Burma had other pro-democracy champions, some with years of oppositionexperience and knowledge. Singling her out actually damaged the movement,and in many ways. First, she became its ideological leader, for whichposition she was ill-suited. But, it is not only her true believerpacifism that is out of place for a pro-democracy movement (social changesimply doesn’t work that way). Rather, there is the fact that her personalhistory led her to feel a sense of entitlement and privilege, whichapparently merged with an innate authoritarian streak. She then proceededto dominate the NLD as a vassal, and her influence over the organizationcontinues to reign supreme. Her elitism further led her to endorse thepro-appeasement entreaties of the U.S. and Europe. Finally, having beenanointed with the Prize, it was simple for Than Shwe to suppress theoverall movement, just by keeping her under house arrest.

Indeed, I believe that she is the greatest practical barrier - even morethan the regime’s guns - that the real pro-democracy movement of Burma hasto confront. The events of last month are also noteworthy. In mid-December, Suu Kyiannounced that the NLD would boycott the 2015 election “if she couldn’trun for President.” Then, ten days later she abruptly reversed thisposition, saying that the NLD would participate even without aconstitutional amendment permitting her to run. Then, three days afterthat, one of Than Shwe’s proxies, the USDP, said that it would support anamendment allowing her to contest the top office. Two things are important about this amazing series of developments. First,a behind the scenes deal clearly was struck. I wouldn’t be surprised ifU.S. Ambassador Mitchell played a key shuttle diplomacy role, brokeringthe arrangement between Suu Kyi and the regime. Of more significance, though, is what the deal says about her view of herown importance. Frankly, she is irrelevant to the future of Burma. SHE isnot BURMA. The country will be around long after she is gone.

The Constitution is fundamentally undemocratic, starting with its implicitracism towards the ethnic nationalities; and through how it grants themilitary a superior position to the people including with a free hand tolaunch a coup. It needs to be trashed and a new Constitution written.Amendment will never be enough. However, Suu Kyi doesn’t care about this. The only thing that is importantto her is her lust to be President. She is confusing the two: What Burmaneeds with what she wants. Moreover, by reversing the threat of an NLDboycott so soon, it will be difficult to reimpose it as a reaction to future regime actions, such as on the national census. An intelligentleader, not obsessed with her own role, would have maintained this threatright up until the election date. In summary, Suu Kyi is not only pacified, she is doing everything she can,both consciously and subconsciously, to help the dictatorship perpetuateits power. From house arrest prisoner, she has become Than Shwe’s chessqueen.

88 Generation and other internal activists

The next major resistance group is the brave band of individuals, noworganized as 88 Generation Students, who sacrificed years of their livesin prison on behalf of the democratic struggle. Unfortunately, it appearsthat they have been pacified as well, although nowhere near to the extentas has happened with Suu Kyi. There are a couple of factors at work here.First, they can be re-imprisoned at any time under the terms of theirrelease, which threat they have to take seriously. Secondly, they too aredevoted to “The Lady,” and have repeatedly deferred to her. And thirdly,some individuals - such as Ko Ko Gyi - have been skillfully manipulatedby the regime through plays on their own personal streaks of anti-Muslimracism. As a result, at least until yesterday’s very welcome protest inRangoon against the regime’s oppression (although they did apply for apermit for it), 88 Generation has been quiet. Other individuals and groups, though, have not been so quiet. They haveretained their dedication to the greater cause of freedom and democracyfor Burma, as well as associated issues such as the land thefts and theattacks against the ethnic nationalities, including the Rohingya.Unfortunately, they are all being held back by Suu Kyi’s imperial sense ofself-worth, and which brainwashing the majority of the Burmans of thecountry still seem to accept.

The ethnic nationalities

On the other hand, the ethnic nationality armed resistance groups are farfrom pacified. Even the groups that have agreed to ceasefires retain theability to return to armed conflict at any time. Indeed, for some groupssuch as the Wa, the ceasefires actually enshrined their autonomous status.The Wa are independent now, not even part of Burma. If the regime everdoes try to attack them, to bring them “back into the legal-fold,” theywill put up one hell of a fight. Some groups are wavering, though, including the KNU and the SSA-S. Theregime is pushing for a nationwide ceasefire, and unilateral disarmament,which to it is the most broad-based form of ethnic pacification that itcan hope to achieve. Yawd Serk of the SSA-S has already expressed awillingness to sign (although not to disarm), and the new leaders of theKNU - who also obtained their positions through a fraudulent election -would no doubt do so as well, were it not for strong resistance from theKaren people. The overall situation with the ethnic groups is thereforeunresolved, but their un-pacification will hopefully remain intact for theforeseeable future.

The general public

Finally, the general public of Burma is pacified as well. By being beatendown by the regime through abuse and enforced poverty for the last fiftyyears, and through being misled by their supposed pro-democracy leadersover the last twenty-five, they have lost the will to rise up. What isironic is that if any country deserves a massive protest in the streets,it is Burma, even more so than Cambodia and Thailand. This leaves open thequestion if there is anything that will get the people going again: getthem to realize that as with all human societies ultimate power lies withthem, not with their autocrats - or even soldiers with guns. So, to return to Than Shwe’s plan, he wants to complete the pacificationprogram with a nationwide ceasefire; then refuse to amend theConstitution, or allow only a minor modification such that his ally andapologist Suu Kyi can assume her so-desired figurehead status; then followthis with a fraudulent census that undercounts ethnic nationalitypopulations; then conduct a fraudulent election that paves the way for asuccession of future dictators, all to the end of following the model thatis working so well in China.

Nationwide ceasefire As I’ve written before, and with this new perspective, it is essentialthat the armed ethnic groups not agree to a natiowide ceasefire. If theydo, the overall pro-democracy resistance in Burma will fail and ThanShwe’s plan will succeed. The only exception to not signing would be ifthe regime agrees to the ethnic positions, including to stop Burma Armyattacks; to withdraw from ethnic area bases; to cease its abuse of ethnicvillagers; to allow equality and self-determination; and to agree to anentirely new constitution that enshrines all of this in a federal,democratic structure. Of course, there is no chance at all that the regime will accept this.Therefore, there should never be a nationwide ceasefire. If corrupt ethnicleaders do decide to sign such a ceasefire, the people, starting with therank and file resistance soldiers, should renew their struggle. One thing to understand about Burma’s chess game is that it is presentlyvery finely balanced. While Than Shwe may control the country, and havethe backing of the International Community and Suu Kyi, he cannot forcehis plan through. He needs the ethnic groups to surrender.

This in turn means that the ethnic groups have the upper hand. They do nothave to sign a nationwide ceasefire - ever! Until the KNU election fiasco,they had actually been defeating the Burma Army on many fronts, inflictingstaggering regime losses from Karen State all the way up to Putao.Tatmadaw morale was terrible and its officer unity was eroding. Thepossibility of a soldier led pro-democracy coup was clearly on the rise.(Hence the “reform” and the 2010 election.) Further, there was anopportunity for the resistance to unify and establish its own FederalArmy, take the fight to the generals, and free the country outright. Theactions of General Mutu and his cohort were therefore not just a betrayalof the Karen; they were a treasonous act against the entire country. The secret meeting between Mutu and the top dictators last weekend isfurther evidence of his treachery. It seems that like Suu Kyi he is nowattempting to strike his own deal.

Also, failure to sign a nationwide ceasefire does not only mean that theethnic nationalities will remain un-pacified. It puts the balance of ThanShwe’s plan in jeopardy as well. For the census to have even an appearanceof legitimacy, there must be an attempt to count the public in the ethnicareas. However, without a ceasefire this count cannot take place.Therefore, a legitimate national election itself can never be held(witness how the 2010 election did not cover Kachin and other ethnicareas.) The ethnic groups do not only have the better chess pieces relative to theceasefire, they have a strong enough position to defeat Than Shwe’s entireplan! They must ensure that their corrupt leaders do not throw thisadvantage away.

The 2014 census

Even without a ceasefire, though, we should expect the March census to goahead. With the similarly pro-regime United Nations running it, not onlywill it not be abandoned, the result - no matter how flawed - will betouted as genuine. There will be many avenues for regime-perpetrated fraud, to undercount theethnic peoples, and to overcount the Burmans. This will occur even in theface of ethnic attempts to prevent it. Monitors cannot be present in everyvillage. It’s clear that the regime intends both to undercount the ethnicpopulation, and to fragment it. A declaration of pure Burmans not only asthe largest group, but as a clear majority, is the objective. The regime is continuing its 135 national races mythology. The acceptableethnic group designations will not even be published until a month beforethe actual census, and reportedly mixed-group individuals will not beallowed to so identify. As in the past, it is inevitable that villagerswill be intimidated to identify as Burman if they are Buddhist. Now, theywill also be forced to register as Burman if they are mixed group. In addition, there will be no counts of the millions of refugees, IDPs andmigrant workers, all of which will work to the regime’s advantage as well.

2015 election

Finally, and given a nationwide ceasefire and the census as thegroundwork, Than Shwe will permit the holding of an election. It’s a wasteof time at this point to anticipate the many different ways in which thiswould be rigged. There was excellent documentation of the widespreadtechniques that were used in 2010, and we can no doubt expect a repeat ofall of these. Personally, while the Constitution might be amended to allowSuu Kyi to run for President, I still view this as unlikely. Than Shwe’sintention to have Min Aung Hlaing serve as Thein Sein’s successor hasalready been signaled. The old man is aware that he needs to start lookingbeyond his remaining years, and set up a self-perpetuating cycle of“elected” dictators - at least until his grandson comes of age. In conclusion, we are now approaching a turning point for Burma. The nexttwo years will unquestionably be historic. Than Shwe will either succeed,or he will fail. The people of the country will lose, or they will win.Burma’s chess game is coming to its close. This is what is at stake. It is essential that an election in the country not be held, until it canbe free and fair and absolutely transparent. Therefore, the ethnic groupsshould not agree to a nationwide ceasefire. Instead, they shouldreinvigorate their resistance. And, the people should not participate inthe census. Instead, they should oppose it. It is time for everyone inBurma to stand up for themselves and for what is right, and to opposetheir dictators and false idols.

Delhi people getting ready to welcome new civic engagement rules

Special Contributon
By Rakesh Manchanda
Dec 31, 2013

Protest rally against rape in Delhi

Delhi continues to be on the growth radar of several global cities. Stories of scams, rapes, women exploitation, less wages, inflation, rising water and electricity bills all has forced the people to wake up. Delhi now demands a new rule and clear code of conduct for their elected servants and leaders. Delhi voters as real masters are getting ready to take historical decision to set new rules for new elected MLAs. Till date since past six decades people with a strange fear and with no choice were forced to issue advance `blank` cheques to the winner traditional political party.

Who foots the privilege bills and salary to elected peoples representatives? Where does the money comes from ? While direct tax collection in India is pegged at Rs 4,500 crore, indirect taxes could raise Rs 45,940 crores in the last budget 2011-12. You need not be a student of Economics to see that indirect taxes are a huge burden on the people, while the low direct tax rates were a relief for the rich. Poor do not pay direct tax due to less income but are forced to pay or unknowingly pay rising indirect taxes. Salaries and perks given to elected leaders comes from the indirect VAT taxes generated by workers and common man and not from the pockets of rich income tax payers.

Elected servants in any country are full time service coordinators to run governance and to fulfill promises. Like it or not leaders are paid employees who do not work like a common man in a productive wheels from agricultural fields to factories. MLAs and MPs are supposed to monitor just distribution of wealth with effective laws in the various wheels of productions and consumption. Common man works hard to generate wealth and more jobs and foots the bill of his elected servants.There was no trend of servants or paid elected leaders going back to masters to get the weekly or monthly audit.At present there is no trend of servants going back to masters to get the weekly or monthly audit.

New fashionable slogan catching up fast is :

Stop issuing unsafe blank cheques to Delhi servants for five years. Reason ? It is very difficult to monitor growth and expenses from 99% pockets after five years and the end of five years. Debt burden on city is so heavy no one knows how much. Why the MLAs has spend and how much in five years ? In a usual employee-employer relationship blank cheque or cash audit needs to cleared after every five days. Thanks to the new political breeze. With entry of AAP- Aaam Admi Party or the Ordinary Man`s Party there appears a collective guarantee to ask the servants to explain the social and cost audit say after each five weeks to ensure corruption free governance. Eight past days recently were spend by Delhi voters with a Governance deadlock. Bang On ! people in big crowds now hang out to dress up as real masters for the first time to celebrate their new freedom. The mission for referendum was a guidance to new servants in Jan Sabhas or Peoples Parliament called by AAP.

Participation with consultancy is the new buzz word to shoot problems. Peoples Parliaments called Mohalla Samittis with directives as complimentary pressure group to conventional parliament are getting shaped up fast. Many voters find it ridiculous and comical as to why the royal elected leaders should come back to the real masters-the people. It appears that such voters in minority are either in a mischief mode or are still in a state of fear of past ruling elite. They are not ready to wear the master`s shoes and exercise fair control on the servants. Disunited and weak citizens in the past were forced to allow their elected servants to serve the 1% Corporate but from the hidden back door. Post election scenario in the past would mean money in hidden power citadels getting exchanged and poaching of independent MPs was fashionable.

Distance between governance and People is drastically reduced. Speed of people empowerment is amazing. Battle of peoples referendum via SMS, mails, road side parliaments is won but the real war for justice and Governance is still to begin. `Delhi` which was unhappy to be named as unsafe rape city is getting ready for a new process. People are redefining their relationship with `Netas`/leaders as law makers who used to treat voters as their servants while forcing them to pay blank cheques. In the past leaders advised voters to come back after five years.

Work culture from Minister (Mantari) to Peon (Santri) needs to be corrected first with a clear link to productivity and pending home work of 18 promises made to people by newly elected AAP. The chain of survival and alert Delhi governance can be made simple and smooth by AAP if it implements what it preached. The new ministers instead of taking oath in guarded British palaces or Parliament took oath in open cultural park called Ramleela Ground and travelled via metro train. The Red Batton (lal batti) cars that used to stops traffic and harms Public will not be used by ministers. No VIP invitation for oath taking ceremony was printed or circulated.

More then such popular measures it is P2P (People to Politicians) relationship that needs a sustainable audit and a change. Mechanism that delivers safe laws and safe work culture for production and consumption of materials and thoughts needs to be fine tuned. After Radia Tapes,Wikki Leaks,3G,coal scams and unending scams, everyone knows it is difficult to cater to people’s expectations. Politicians till date continue to be the worst enemy of 99% people while slaves of 1% Corporate. No time management and no sensible law to delivery work in time adds salt to the recession wounds. All these institutions need reforms. Without any real change in delivery system with respect to people you cannot fool people again and again.

Hope the year 2014 witnesses a real alive newer New Delhi –Safe New India with new plans to take care of the hard earned money of majority. Let us grab our management command buttons. Delhi common people today say : Yes ! Another World is Possible !

Jaypee Company! stop killing Alaknanda : People will take their own action - NGT orders Jt. Secretary, MoEF to present in court for the matter

Vishnuprayag Hydro Electric Project

Environment violations are continued by Jaypee Company in Vishnuprayag Hydro Electric project on River Alaknanda in Uttarakhand. It is a well known truth that on 16th-17th June, 2013 the gates of the Vishnuprayag Hydro Electric Project was not opened by the JAYPEE Company due to which a lot of muck got accumulated in the dam reservoir and a lake was formed which broke gates and created lot of destruction in the villages at the dam downstream. This also caused huge destruction to the environment. There is no plan yet to compensate this damage.

Even after continued agitations and reminder to government officials by affected people, the JAYPEE Company has not started following environmental safeguards of the region affected by the debris of the dam project while clearing the dam reservoir. No attention is being paid for the future protection of the areas downstream of the dam.

“Vishnuprayag Bandh Aapda Prabhavit Sangh” wrote a letter to Chief Conservator of Forests, Uttarakhand and District Forest Officer Mr. Rajeev Dhimanji about this continuing violation demanding “necessary steps to stop this, otherwise we will be left with no other choice but to stop this wrong doing on our own.” This letter was signed by Kishor Panwar, Navin Chowhan, Nikhil Panwar, Govind Panwar and others. They wrote in the letter that this violation has been published in various newspapers and TV channels many times. On 29th November, 2013 the District Forest Officer went to examine the site. He told us that in October the forest department fined the JAYPEE Company Rs. 1 lakh. He also said that, District Forest Officer is responsible to decide the amount of the fine.

There has been no change in the condition of the above specified area from October till now. Instead, the JAYPEE Company is violating the environmental standards and depositing the debris everywhere, including the river Alaknanda. It seems, as if they have bought the license of violating environmental standards by paying the Rs. 1 lakh fine. From 29th November till today no move has been made by the District Forest Officer Rajeev Dhiman to stop this. The Central Environmental and the Forest Ministry and the Government administration of Uttarakhand is not taking any action against this which is quite surprising to us. Matu Jansagthan also filed a case in National Green Tribunal on environment violation done by the project proponent of Vishnupryag HEP. The interim order in the last hearing on 20 November, the National Green Tribunal says -

“Despite service, nobody is present on behalf of Ministry of Environment and Forests (for short ‘MoEF’). It is strange phenomenon that despite oral directions, letters written to the MoEF and the matter being mentioned in the Meeting where Joint Secretary, Mr. Surjit Singh was present, nobody is appearing on behalf of the MoEF in the case. Presence of MoEF in this matter, which is of very serious consequences in relation to dumping of muck in the river Alaknanda, is essential before the Tribunal. It may be noticed that despite service and information, Counsel are not appearing in number of cases. Let Joint Secretary, Mr. Surjit Singh, who is dealing with the affairs of National Green Tribunal, be personally present in this case on the next date of hearing and shall produce the records in the case.”

And JAYPEE Co. has not yet filed their reply in this case. They are taking more time. It shows that they are playing their tactics to delay the matter. This is a major question which is related directly to the future of the affected areas. On the international day for Human Rights we declare we will fight from ground to court for justice. Vimalbhai, Dinesh Panwar

Human Rights Day: People's Movements Assert Right to Life, Dignity and Nature and Expose Failure of Rights Institutions and the State

Elderly people protest in Delhi

Mumbai / Nagpur / Delhi, December 10 : Today is Human Rights Day. It is a recognition of the rights of the people but will mean nothing if people across the globe didn't fight to assert those rights and fight for it.

On this day hundreds of working class people living in slums, bastis, resettlement colonies of Mumbai, under the banner of Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, protested in front of State Human Rights Commission, Maharashtra demanding its complete failure in protecting their rights. They charged complete absence of basic amenities – water, sanitation, electricity, education and health services. Rights bodies in State have failed to prevent or provide relief when their homes have been demolished unjustly by the administration or been arbitrarily arrested for defending their homes from getting demolished. Can Rights bodies ensure their safety and protect their constitutional rights, they ask ? With no permanent shelter and a sword of demolition hanging over their permanent houses, state refuses to recognise their right to livelihood and shelter. Is this not human rights violation? Is this not a threat to the right to life ? Why is Commission silent on this ?

NAPM along with the National Sugar factory Workers Federation launched Sahkar Bachao, Desh Bachao dharna on the second day of the Mahrashtra Vidhan Sabha in Nagpur. The unpaid workers of the sugar factories and farmers, whose land had been taken over by the mills, have joined the rally. Not only were Sugar factories sold at throwaway prices, the workers have not been paid their dues and farmers not been returned their deposit amount along with interest too. Farmers had given their land for cooperative factories and not private units. They should be returned their land. A 20,000 crore scam has taken place in connivance with the political party leaders of Congress, NCP and BJP.

In Delhi, Pension Parishad's dharna entered 15th day today at Jantar Mantar. In the winter of Delhi nearly 500 elderly people from across the country have been holding on the footpath of Delhi demanding their right to a dignified life, demanding a pension of Rs. 2000, linked with the inflation, which is a meagre Rs. 200 at the moment. Is that too much to ask from a democratically elected State with pretensions of being a socialist republic ? Why is the rights bodies failing to take note of such issues ?

In Muzzafarnagar, more than 30 children die living in the relief camps in this winter after the worst riots with no place to go and the rights bodies, minority, sc/st or woment commissions look other way and have no power to deal with this. Today, the world is going under control of corporates be it Deshi or Videshi. Nature based communities are being displaced by the corporates with help of the state every now and then across the country in complete violations of their rights. Thousands of people in Koodankulam, Posco, Niyamgiri, Chhindwara and elsewhere are charged with sedition charges because of upholding the rights given in the constitution. A large number of young people from Muslim community are in Indian jails today in fabricated cases with false implications. Is that not a violation of their human rights ?

The time has come when there is an urgent need to address not only the social and political rights of the people but the special rights of the nature based communities to their livelihood, which includes access to land, water, forests, minerals and eek a honest living. Rights bodies, be it NHRC, SHRC, NCW, SC/STC, NCM or others, they all have a role to play in this, more so when State itself violates the rights of the people. We are besotted with new problems today, manifesting themselves in the climate crisis, having a serious impact on the earth and human beings. Our development model needs to change, the iniquitous growth will lead us no where, this will mean disaster for humanity. It is time we woke up to that.

Medha Patkar - Narmada Bachao Andolan - National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Prafulla Samantara - Lok Shakti Abhiyan, NAPM, Odisha; Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava - Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, NAPM, MP; Gautam Bandopadhyay – Nadi Ghati Morcha, NAPM, Chhattisgarh; Vilas Bhongade, Suniti SR, Prasad Bagwe - NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriel Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C R Neelakandan – NAPM Kerala; Ramakrishnan Raju, Saraswati Kavula, P Chennaiah – NAPM Andhra Pradesh, Bhupender Singh Rawat, Rajendra Ravi, Anita Kapoor – NAPM, Delhi; Arundhati Dhuru, Sandeep Pandey - NAPM, UP; Sister Celia - Domestic Workers Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Sumit Wanjale, Madhuri Shivkar – Ghar Bachao, Ghar Banao Andolan, NAPM, Mumbai; Manish Gupta - Jan Kalyan Upbhokta Samiti, NAPM, UP; Vimal Bhai - Matu Jan sangathan, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Krishnakant, Anand Mazhgaonkar, Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat

Statement in Support of Bhopal Struggle and Resisting Onslaught of Corporations Bhopal Survivors Vs Dow Chemical People's Resistance Vs Corporate Arrogance

Bhopal Gas Tragedy 1984

Corporations have been making lives of people and communities miserable by being involved in unjust acquisition of land, oppression of factory workers, pollution of environment, reckless mining, deforestation, extraction of ground water, control of seeds of farmers, privatization of basic services, etc., with little or no care for the people, but about how much profits they can make quarter after quarter. The struggles of peoples’ movements against Corporations are not isolated struggles against specific Corporations per se, but point towards the larger issues associated with the Corporate Structure. Unless we come together to resist the onslaught of Corporations, the large, powerful Corporations will continue functioning at the cost of lives and livelihoods of people. This year, the 3rd of December will mark the 29th Anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. 3rd of December 1984 was a fateful day in the history of India - Bhopal witnessed the world's largest industrial disaster which led to the death of more than 20,000 people till date and left tens of thousands more injured. More than half a million people were exposed to the horrific gas leak during that tragic night and twenty eight years later, at least one person dies everyday in Bhopal from the injuries they sustained on that night. Union Carbide Corporation, the company responsible for this incident was acquired by Dow Chemical in 2001, but Dow Chemical has refused to owe any liability towards paying just compensation to the Bhopal survivors. As mentioned on the Students For Bhopal website: Dow Chemical has been consistent in its refusal to admit liability for the Bhopal disaster.

In addition, Dow was quick to settle suits in the USA with favourable outcomes for Carbide victims, but about Bhopal, Dow Public Affairs person said “500 $ is plenty good for an Indian.” (Kathy Hunt, 2002) In spite of the struggle for the fair and just compensation for Bhopal survivors for several years, along with prolonged efforts made at international level continue to hold Dow Chemical accountable for taking full responsibility of the incident, we still witness the harsh arrogance of Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) in suppressing larger interests of people, for the sheer pursuit of their profits. What happened in Bhopal is not an isolated case of wrong doing by one lone Corporation which refused to take due responsibility for its actions. This is a visible manifestation of growing Corporate Power globally, with Corporations under the bandwagon of neoliberalism actively suppressing people's movements, acquiring natural resources like land, water, minerals, forests, oil, etc. and colluding with Governments across the world to concentrate the power in the hands of a few elites. Multinational Corporations have become so powerful with the passage of time that their annual revenues are exceeding GDPs of several nations and their lobbying activities in the respective government bodies are enabling them to dictate the agenda and policies of the State, favouring interests of Corporations than its citizens thereby continuing to grow at a rapid rate. We very well see in the case of last two decades of liberalization as how Indian Government has allowed disinvestment of a large number of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and privatizing basic services like electricity, water, health care, etc. Corporations have been able to propagate the message successfully that they act in the best interests of people, provide them goods and services they need, can do their operations ‘efficiently’, generate jobs and add to the GDP of the economy, and that there is no viable alternative to Corporations for functioning of society. The ownership of mainstream media by Corporations amplifies this message and their deep pockets ensure that Governments give them full-fledged support, including use of military and police wherever needed to make sure that regular business of Corporations goes uninterrupted.

What is often ignored by the State and the media is the struggle of hundreds of peoples’ movements across India, who have been resisting onslaught of Corporations to protect their land and livelihoods, but are seen as hindrance in the agenda of development of modern India. The struggles of adivasis, villagers, farmers, factory workers, slum-dwellers against the wrongdoings of Corporations are suppressed in the name of generating a ‘business-friendly’ climate for Indian economy. Under the guise of Corporate Accountability, as in the case of Bhopal Tragedy, Dow Chemical blatantly refused to give the due compensation to the survivors, so that it can continue to post more profits for its shareholders. Corporations have abused the term ‘accountability’ to the extent that they are neither accountable to the communities where they operate, nor accountable to the State. Corporations’ sole accountability rests with their shareholders, who invest money in a Corporation to get higher returns, without bothering much about the negative externalities generated due to the running of Corporations. The larger responsibility of the business towards people, communities and environment is totally ignored and the term ‘sustainable development’ becomes a Public Relations tool in the hands of Corporations, claiming that they are deeply concerned about the long term sustainability of the people and communities.

In the context of India, we get to hear several examples of human rights and labour rights violations by Corporations, along with severe violations of environmental regulations. In current times, Corporations are shelling out huge amounts of money in the name of “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)”, which many peoples’ movements have severely criticized, as it gives an easy outlet for the Corporations to offset the negative reactions generated due to their actions. Corporations create a false public image that they really care about the larger social welfare of the poor. If Corporations were really concerned about the welfare of society, they wouldn’t be abusing their power to suppress peoples’ resistance, but would rather be working towards addressing those concerns and making sure that their functioning doesn’t come at the cost of people and environment. While some may say that Corporations operate according to the laws made by State and hence the onus of regulating Corporations and making them accountable lies on the State and not Corporations per se. However, the angle of nexus between State and Corporations and the enormous power wielded by Multi-National Corporations is lesser taken into consideration in such arguments, which makes it much more difficult to expect the State to govern Corporations in the interests of people. Whether it is the struggle of Bhopalis against Dow Chemical or the struggles of other peoples’ movements such as struggle of Adivasis of Niyamgiri against Vedanta, villagers of Plachimada against Coca-Cola, villagers of Jagatsinghpur against POSCO, factory workers against Maruti Suzuki, farmers against Monsanto, etc., the larger message which needs to go out is, that these are not segregated struggles of peoples’ movements against few specific evil Corporations.

What needs to be challenged fiercely is the unaccountable power of the larger Corporate Structure, ready to use their muscle and money power to thwart any kind of resistance targeted at them. Although local struggles targeting individual Corporations do dent their growth in a big way, we all need to stand together against these profit-hungry Corporations, so that the voices of the people at the ground amplify multiple times and that Government cannot keep favouring Corporations at the cost of people and environment. We, the peoples’ movements stand together in solidarity with the survivors of the injustices of the powerful Corporations and the struggle of justice for the Bhopal Survivors. In Solidarity,


By Neil B. Valentino
Staff Correspondent
Nov 23, 2013

Protests by the National Union of Journalists of Philippines

Ansan, South Korea - After 1,461 days, the shocking and grievous massacre is still ongoing in court and killers are still in trial. This is the justice system in the Philippines, where family of the victims desperately think that the trial would turn to “justice delayed, justice denied.” Exactly, four years ago, the brutal killings happened in the province of Maguindanao, Philippines. There were 58 had been massacred, including 32 journalists who were just escorting the filing of certificate of candidacy of rival candidate named Ismael Mangudadatu, then vice-mayor of Buluan City running for governor against then incumbent governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. when 200 uniformed armed men, led by former mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr, blocked the victims' cars and gunned down all the armless men and women in and outside the cars including the entire convoy and buried the dead bodies and cars in a prepared deep hole excavated with a backhoe on the hill.

The gruesome killings shocked the world, the nation's darkest moment and the worst slaughter of newsmen in the history. “ It is shocking and unbelievable, said Leila de Lima, former chairwoman of Commission of Human Rights and present Secretary Departmanet of Justice. One of the suspects turned witness testified that he saw former mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. led the massacre with his more or less 200 policemen and private armies where the wife of then vice-mayor Mangudadatu was forced to kneel down after alligning with her colleagues, slapped and lacerating her private parts four times and shot on the left breast. Moments later, the remaining 57 were also shot using the machine guns and armalites including the convoys and journalists inside the car.

So far, familes and relatives are seeking for immediate justice and compensation for the sake of victims families and children who suffered for many years of losing their loved ones, breadwinners and financial supports. They also desperate for the slow movement of the case and unhappy because four years since massacre began, none of the 104 perpetrators had been convicted and 88 are still at large. When these remaining suspects at large be brought in jail and face trial? Moreover, the bereaved families, siblings, children and widow of victims have not heard from President Aquino concern in a long time, even not included in his speeches nor in his State of the Nation Address for more than three years in his office, they felt they have been neglected and forgotten. Thus, they asked the help of Supreme Court chief justice Sereno to monitor and hasten the slow-moving trial. However, the families of the victims believe that justice will come faster if the government surely press the prosecution of the perpetrators.

Meanwhile, Justice Now Movement (JNM), the organization of slain pressmen in Maguindanao observes four year anniversary of the victims and condemened the slow movement of the four year case. Secretary General of JNM, Grace Morales said families of the murdered media workers remained united and determined to press the case until justice was served.“ it’s as the government did not care.” she added. According to the reports, the victims’ families later filed a petition with United Nation Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), askingn the UN body to persuade the Philippine government to compensate each of them for the deaths of the family breadwinners in violation of their rights.“ We've been rebuffed by the government so we decided to go to the United Nation.” said Parcon, a widow of one of the victims.

The writer agrees the manifestation of the victim’s lawyer that the trial lasts 16-20 years without the the help of UNHCR, the world knows how slow is the administration of law or justice in the Philippines. The report says that the Ampatuans hired eighty lawyers and trying to bribe the victims' families just to drop back the case.


By Neil B. Valenino
Staff Correspondent
Nov 13, 2013

Aerial view of Leyte

South Korea - The deadly super typhoon code name Haiyan landed in the province of Leyte, located in Eastern Visayas region, Philippines and almost devastated almost entire Tacloban city and its nearby towns. Prior to this, the authority has warned and evacuated the residents earlier before Haiyan landed Friday morning, but the killer super typhoon has horrifically ruined the capital city of Leyte and reported approximately 90 percent of the buildings and houses were devastated. The most deadliest tropical cyclone of the year and one of the worst hurricanes in the world. It also desolated Samar, Capiz , Iloilo, Cebu, Aklan, Bohol and other provinces thus leaving the trail of devastation. Meanwhile, houses, schools, cars, agricultures were wiped out and falling debris, trees, concrete electrical posts toppled and scattered along the roads that prevented the search and rescue operations to penetrate to help the survivors and victims of hurricane. A few weeks ago, Bohol province was devastated earlier by 7.2 richter scale earthquake.

Surging water and strongest wind tearing children away from their parent's hands, some evacuation centers were also destroyed causing evacuees including children drown inside the house due to rising of floods and storm surge. State of Calamity was declared in Tacloban after the ruins. Despite of preparations, the supertyphoon seems like tsunami that happened in Japan few years ago that destroyed houses and left many people dead.

In the actual coverage of Philippine tv networks, the world has seen the strongest typhoon ever that hit the highly urbanized city and its 41 nearby towns which left thousands dead and homeless. Houses were wiped out and floods arising and moved violently and sweeped the land of the island region. The death toll as of Tuesday reach to 1,700 and believed to reach up to 10,000 as other towns were not yet verified. Most Filipinos across the country are always aware and ready about typhoon but this is the most horrific typhoon that hit the entire province of Leyte. Worst, survivors have no food to eat and drink in three days. Power and communication cut off, no one can get help, some survivors looted in grocery, ransacked food establishment to find food for survival.

Meanwhile, the televiewers and Filipinos are thanking the courage and fearlessness of mediamen who undefatigably monitored the desperate conditions of survivors, by risking their lives just to deliver the latest news and served the umfortunate and poor people in the affected areas. It was found out that survivors have nothing to drink and eat three days after the hurricane left Saturday. More people are starving to death in the isolated areas which caused others looted and destroyed groceries and shopping malls just to find food to survive. Some survivors on the other hand, have become desperate and violent by blocking and robbing vehicles passing by for lack of foods. The authority has sent soldiers to restore the peace and order. As Filipinos across the nation and abroad are watching live tv coverage and worried for thier relative's conditions as most residents in Leyte and Samar province are living beside the seashore where houses made only by wood and bamboo.

As of this writing, many towns are not yet reached by government assistance and many survivors are starving to death while foreign aids are almost arriving to help the survivors. It is six days after the tragedy, most victims are crying for help for food, clean water and shelter. The national government assistance was still on the process of helping the dying survivors. As of this writing, they are still asking for immediate foods, safe and clean water and medicines to restore themselves from desperation. Survivors would collapse without food intake for six days now and they need the compassion of national government without delay.

Just recently, the foreign countries have sent huge aids such as medical and financial assistance as well as their aircrafts, military troops, transportation and communication equipments and relief goods and went to the devastated areas to assist the typhoon victims. The Filipino people, the netizens around the world have sent their gratitude to foreign countries for joining hands helping the victims of typhoon Haiyan. The allied nations are there when the Filipino victims needed you most. The netizens around the world are very proud of unselfish effort and aids of superpower nations like USA, Canada, Sweden, Japan, UAE, Germany and many great nations. According to the reports, there are at least 22 nations sent immediate huge assistance to the victims in Central Visayas Philippines.

Notably, without the coverage of Philippine giant networks using their courageous men and women reporters the situations of desperate survivors would not be known and verified. According to reports earlier, eight survivors died due to accident of getting foods. Some towns have not been reached for any search and rescue operations right now. Thus, the relatives of the victims comdemning the government for the late response and actions. All survivors are homeless and starving to death in 6 days now after the tragedy. The city was described by residents and reporters as ghost city after devastations.

Ironically, the latest updates sent by survivor to social media that 5 US C-130 have landed in Samar province with food and relief goods and warned the politicians not to touch the aid of US and UN and it has learned that it was arrived ahead than the scheduled aid of national government. The Filipino people are requesting auditors to monitor and inspect the financial assistance sent by foreign nations so it would not be plundered by the thieves in the government.


By Neil Paul Valentino
Staff Correspondent
Nov 03, 2013

Taxpayers marching against Pork Barrel scam

ANSAN, South Korea- The Filipino people are now disgusting and outraging against the traitors of the country and hoarding the state's resources by which the nation is still devastated by ongoing corruption made by crooked and greedy politicians, they are senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, etcetera. Public Funds which supposed for the nation and its people just went to fake charitable organizations and disappeared. Many decades ago, the people of the nation mostly poor in society are suffering hunger and some in the remote areas were starving to death due to imbalance distribution of nation s wealth but only few are able to survive today in the rich in mineral resources and christian country. Ironically, leaders who are supposed to bring progress, are caught for stealing the taxpayer's money and become rich when they held power or elected in local and national government. In fact, there were about three million hunger children, 24 million Filipinos living in poverty and more or less 11 million are jobless. What kind of leaders, lawgivers and public officials or servants do we have?

Just recently, the leader of the country, Benigno Aquino III, the son of Filipino freedom icon Ninoy Aquino and the late president Corazon Aquino addressed a speech on scandalous issue " Pork Barrel" on how the thieves of the state's fund illegally allocated their fund to fake non-government institutions. He also accused an old-dirty senator and others in diverting the issue for using also his presidential fund unconstitutionally. As of this writing there are at least three opposition senators and two party-list congressmen and many others who were charged of plunder by the Department of Justice, for getting lump-sum kickbacks of their pork barrel funds of more than 100 million pesos each. According to the law, any public officials who found stealing more than 50 million pesos from state's treasury is plunderous.

This is who we are in the Philippines at the present time, the nation governed by dishonest, thieves, traitors, greedy and murderers’ servant of the people and there are still a thousand words to say about them by angry netizens, taxpayers, and overseas Filipino workers abroad who are disgusted and angry that the remittance taxes went only to shameless and thick-skinned politician's purse. Formerly and presently, we have a society of child abusers, government syndicates, police scalawags, custom fixers, lawbreakers and the most worst airport in the world because the public funds of the nation previously and presently being robbed and pickpocketed. Many believed that being labeled as new Asia's fast growing economy, economic tiger, and brightest spark nation in Asia today by the World Bank will not be possible unless the thieves and plunderers are executed and imprisoned. Netizens in social media have stressed, “we are not stupid and ignorant, bring our taxes back".

Meanwhile, according to the investigation of Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the alleged 10- Billion Pork Barrel scam masterminded by certain Janet Napoles, it was found out that three of eight fake non- governmnet organizations ( NGO)” are quite questionable, for example, the Social Development Progress for Farmers Foundation located in Laguna province had received 373.45 million pesos, while People Organization for Progress and Development Foundation in Taguig City got 24.25 million pesos and Masaganang Ani Foundation Inc. in Quezon City also received 9 million pesos where investigators had occular inspection on the said areas and surprisingly discovered that these addresses or places were used only and proved that the said NGOs are fictitious. “ There was a conspiracy to defraud the Filipino People”, said Senator Guingona, chairman of the Committee. The huge public funds of Priority Development Priority Fund ( PDAF) allocated to lawmakers went to nothing but to personal coffers of shameless senators and congressmen and many more who took advantaged from the Filipino voters just to get rich for their self-indulgence and family dynasties in government. They hoarded the people's money too and fattened themselves while the majority of the Filipino people are very poor in society and some are starving to death, jobless are increasing and crimes escalated elsewhere.

Based on the Commission on Audit reports, stunning 1.5 Billion pesos are liquidated to 55 NGOs and Chairwoman Grace Pulido-Tan said the majority of these are not existing only 8 among more than 80 NGOs were carefully examined by designated auditors. Thus, without the courage and fearless action of the Mrs. Tan of CoA the nation and its people will suffer before long in the hands of the traitors and thieves of the country.

“Abolish the senate and congress , we do not need lawmakers because they are like animals in the land”, stressed by angry netizen. Therefore, the penman agrees the sentiment of our countryman if granted we do not really need 24 senators, we need more auditors of public funds for sure that this nation will be alike of fast developing nations like Canada, Hongkong, Singapore, South Korea and many highly developed countries where the thieves and plunderers are jailed and executed. In South Korea, there were two previous presidents jailed due to money plundering and never happened again until it has become the Asia's fastest highly industrialized nation today. On the other hand, in China, dishonest public official executed publicly. It is only in the Philippines, that elected public officials have become so rich, owns police bodyguards and private armies, also possesses mansions and big busineses in their provinces, families also serving the government like children, wife and relatives as well, so they retain political dynasties.

Hence, Pork barrel or PDAF of lawmakers support continued patronage their constituents and political dynasties. It is the also the root of all evil desires of public officials especially elected and incumbent politicians to assasinate or kill their political rivals, mediamen and whistle-blowers when they are shamefully exposed and revealed their wrongdoings and misdeeds. Up to the present, more rallies will be materialized by several groups including social media netizens to persistently ask the present regime to abolish the PDAF of the solons and DAP which believed is no other than but also pork barrel of the president which would be the cause of perpetual corruption of the nation. Several groups persistently insist to make the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI) be passed by senate and congress and approved by Mr. Aquino so every transaction in the government and public officials will be transparent and known by the Filipino people. May God, the King of kings and Almighty one save our nation and punish the evil-doers.

Earthquake in Central Visayas – Philippines

Oct 15, 2013  

Central Visayas in Philippines

An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale struck the Central Philippines shortly after 8:00am (local time) on Tuesday, October 15, 2013. The epicenter was located on the island of Bohol, about 70 kilometers from the Philippines’ second major city, Cebu. The Congregation has a number of houses in Cebu, including the Provincial Residence, a large church and community and a retreat house.

Reports from the community in Cebu indicate that all confreres are well. In relation to our buildings, there was little damage, apart from some cracks on walls, particularly where the walls join the ceilings.

Most of the casualties, as well as most of the physical damage, took place in Bohol. As of the moment, more than seventy people have been reported killed in Bohol with a further twenty or so killed in Cebu. It was fortunate that Tuesday was a public holiday and as such schools and many offices were closed. Undoubtedly this resulted in fewer casualties. Bohol has many historical churches dating back more than four centuries to the time of the Spanish colonization of the archipelago. Many of these churches were destroyed or badly damaged in the quake. In Cebu, the Minor Basilica of the Santo Nino, an historic church and a major center of devotion for the Filipino people, was damaged in the quake.

The quake has been followed by a number of aftershocks. This has been a concern for many and as a result many people have taken to staying outside of their homes.

Fr. Michael Brehl, Superior General, asks the Congregation to accompany in prayer the people of the Philippines, especially the people of the most affected region. May the Holy Redeemer and Our Mother of Perpetual Help comfort and strengthen them in these difficult days.

Fr. Rafael Vieira, CSsR CSsR Communications Office Via Merulana, 31 – Rome

Vietnam's Semblance of Reform Hanoi's recent diplomatic efforts coincide with a brutal crackdown on free speech at home

Special Report

Demonstrators outside the trial of Le Quoc Quan in Hanoi on Oct. 2

Over the past four months, Vietnam's communist leaders have launched an unprecedented diplomatic offensive. President Truong Tan Sang and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung have travelled to 10 countries including Russia, China, the U.S., the EU and beyond, to strengthen strategic partnerships, forge alliances and seek every opportunity to increase trade and investment to bolster the ailing economy of its one-party state. Yet alongside this top-level diplomatic whirlwind, a very different offensive is taking place within Vietnam. In one of the most brutal crackdowns in a generation on freedom of expression, pro-democracy bloggers and online journalists have been beaten, harassed, interned in psychiatric institutions, arrested and condemned to sentences of up to life in prison for expressing critical views of the regime.

Since the beginning of 2013, 51 dissidents have been arrested and the list keeps growing. In August, Vo Thanh Tung, a prize-winning journalist from the state-controlled press who made his name exposing official corruption was jailed on suspicion of taking bribes. This is consistent with Hanoi's current strategy of charging critics with non-political crimes such as corruption to obscure the political nature of their offenses. Le Quoc Quan, another prominent human rights lawyer and blogger, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and a fine on October 2 for tax-evasion charges. Secret police frequently harass bloggers and their families. On September 1, Decree 72 came into force, imposing draconian controls on freedom of expression. The new law bans a range of vaguely defined online activities, obliges foreign service providers to share information about their users with the government, and bans bloggers from reproducing news items on personal blogs and social networks.

Repression at home may at first appear inconsistent with the more positive message Hanoi is trying to project abroad. But bloggers inside Vietnam have suggested the two are linked. Leaders understand that they will need to show more domestic openness if they want to secure goodies such as membership on the U.N. Human Rights Council (a bid that will be voted on in November in New York). They also hope the EU will approve a Cooperation and Partnership Agreement signed last year. With its crackdown, the government is cynically trying to create conditions in which it can make a show of political "reform" without endangering party rule in practice. Consider recent comments by Mr. Truong on his trip to Denmark, one of Vietnam's largest foreign aid donors. For the first time, the president admitted that Vietnam's system has "defects," and pledged to make political reforms.

Hanoi will be keen to avoid recent "mistakes." For instance, the highly publicized campaign to reform the constitution over the past year, which was supposed to show the party in a modernizing light, backfired when thousands of citizens organized online petitions calling for the abolition of Article 4, which gives the party a monopoly on power. Hanoi will be willing to deliver the political "reforms" demanded by foreigners only if party leaders feel they can exercise greater control on the reform process. The party would be right to worry about what would happen to its authority if a free discussion were allowed. Despite sporadic bans, more than 10 million Vietnamese use Facebook, and the number of mobile phones is nearly double the size of the population. Young people especially are using blogs and microblogs to bypass the censorship of the state-controlled media. They raise urgent issues such as the need for land reform, corruption, religious persecution, environmental degradation, border issues with China, democracy and human rights, all of which Vietnam must eventually address if it wants to be prosperous. And party rule is implicated in the problems on all these fronts.

Decrying its critics as "lackeys of hostile forces," as Hanoi is wont to do, doesn't dent their appeal. That leaves blunt repression coupled with the hope that foreign leaders won't notice, or will find it convenient to take Hanoi's broad assurances of reform at face value instead of probing deeper. Another tactic is to tolerate the emergence of "disposable" political parties to create a veneer of multi-party democracy. Hanoi used this strategy in 2006 when Vietnam was bidding for membership of the World Trade Organization and hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hanoi. Three political parties were created in the run-up to APEC– and were immediately disbanded and their leaders arrested in February 2007 after Hanoi obtained its goals. The creation of a Social Democratic Party this summer by communist veteran turned dissident Le Hieu Dang may well suffer the same fate.

That makes it particularly important for foreign leaders not to be snookered. There are encouraging signs, such as the persistence with which U.S. lawmakers have criticized the regime for its treatment of dissidents such as Mr. Le or blogger Dieu Cay. The regime needs the outside world economically and politically, both to boost trade and investment and to lend support as the South China Sea becomes a strategic flashpoint. The people of Vietnam need the outside world to condition that support on substantive reforms. Mr. Vo is president of Quê Me: Action for Democracy in Vietnam.

Vietnam Committee denounces prison sentence against blogger and pro-democracy activist Lê Quoc Quan

Oct 2, 2013

Lê Quoc Quan

PARIS, 2 October 2013 (VIETNAM COMMITTEE) – The Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) strongly condemns the sentence of 30 months in prison and a fine of 1,2 billion dongs (approx. US $60,000) handed down on blogger and pro-democracy activist Lê Quoc Quan at an unfair trial today at the Supreme People’s Court in Hanoi on charges of “tax evasion” (Article 161 of the Criminal Code). “This unjust sentence has a distinct air of “deja-vu”” said VCHR President Vo Van Ai. “In 2008, blogger Dieu Cay (Nguyen Van Hai) also received a 30-month sentence for “tax evasion”. He has never left prison since”. “This spurious sentence proves without doubt that Vietnam is unfit to obtain a seat on the UN Human Rights Council”, he added.

Mr. Ai recalled that Dieu Cay was not released from prison after completing his 30-month sentence in October 2010, but was maintained in detention and charged with a second offense of “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” (Article 88 of the Criminal Code). He was condemned to 12 years in prison and 5 years of house arrest at an unfair trial in September 2012.

Mr. Ai also denounced the exorbitant fine imposed by the court, which is a massive sum in a country where the average minimum wage is less than $US 100 per month. Moreover, he deplored the grave discrimination suffered by Lê Quoc Quan during his nine-month detention in Prison No. 1 in Hanoi. Not only did his pre-trial detention exceed the maximum of four months stipulated in Vietnam’s Criminal Procedures Code, but he was not once allowed to meet his wife or young daughter during his detention. This sentence is part of an on-going crack-down on freedom of expression, both offline and online. The VCHR has recorded the cases of 51 dissidents arrested in 2013, most of whom are pro-democracy bloggers.

Before his arrest on 27 December 2012, Lê Quoc Quan, a well-known dissident and former lawyer, was the victim of continuous harassments on account of his activities for democracy and human rights. He was beaten with an iron bar by Police-hired thugs outside his home in August 2012, and in October 2012, some 50 Security Police and plain-clothed militia forced entry into the head office of his family firm, the VietNam Credit in Hanoi and its branch office in Saigon, seizing documents and aggressing the staff. Lê Quoc Quan’s brother, Le Quoc Quyet, who is also a blogger, has also suffered repeated beatings and harassments for his pro-human rights activities.

Lê Quoc Quan was previously detained in 2007 on returning from a five-month study in the US on a Reagan-Fascell scholarship funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). After his study he published a report titled ‘Democracy in Vietnam: the role of society’. He was struck of the Bar Association as a result.

F.I.R BHAVNAGAR. TULASHIBHAI BERDIYA - Attrocity against Valimiki Community person

Special Contribution
By Dinesh Berdiya
Sep 15, 2013

Valmiki community resume their protest for Valmiki Temple

Dear Sir,

Person belonging to Bhangi Community, a retired school teacher aged 64 years, senior citizen and living on 1 kidney and dialsys-weekly twise , residing Behind Shikshak Society and Shakti Nagar, Court Road, District Bhavnagar, Tal. Palitana, Gujarat has been brutally attacked with an attempt to murder, by his neighbour family members consists of 5 people belonging to upper caste Rajput Community - Mr. Ajitsinh Jala, Mr. Digvijaysinh Jala, Mr. Kuldipsinh Jala, Mr. Abhijitsinh Jala, Mrs..Hansaben Ajitsinh Jala. Mr. Berdiya and family is the only family belonging to Bhangi Community staying in the above given location where all other neighbors are from upper caste (except other 3 family belonging to upper Scheduled Caste called Vankar)

The incidence happened on 03.08.2013 at around 10.30 a.m. while Mr. Tulsibhai Jadhav Berdiya, was was alone at home with her wife aged 62 years. Mr. Ajitsinh and his family wanted Mr. Berdiya (a lone Bhangi Community person in the area - and staying exactly opposite to Mr. Ajitsinh Jala) - to move away from their house as they did not wanted a Bhangi Community person opposite them. For this Mr. Ajitsinh Jala and his family members started creating nuisance for Mr. Berdiya and Family members by using bad words addressing their caste status. They went to the extent of using their Pat - Dog, by putting excreta and household garbage at the front of their entrance deliberately. Whenever Mr. Berdiya requested to stop all nuisance to them, Mr. Ajitsinh tried to threaten them of dire consequences if they raise opposition to them. Mr. Ajitsinh and family used to get hurt because of one Bhangi is raising voice against his nuisance because he had a ego of being a person from Rajput Family.

Mr. Berdiya has three sons who are staying away (2 at Bhavnagar and 1 at Ahmedabad ) for their occupation reasons. On 03.08.2013, at around 10.00 am Mr. Berdiya was with his wife. To stop daily trauma by Mr. Ajitsinh and family, Mr. Berdiya tried to resolved the issue by requesting them to not to use any community related verbal attrocity or by throwing dirt at their entrance and he also expressed his physical and mental unability to cope up their such nuisance. At the sudden instance, Mr. Ajitsingh and entire family members started beating Mr. Berdiya and his wife with stick, hocky, rod, etc and injured him brutally. They made him to scrawled to his house but they didn't stop at all. In fact they entered to their house, closed the door from inside and again started beating him with an attempt to kill him and vandalise their entire household items. While beating him, Mr. Ajitsinh called his son Mr. Shrikant (staying at Bhavnagar - around 2 hours away from Palitana) and informed him that he and others are beating his father and will kill him, if he has guts then come and face them. Mr. Shrikant reached at spot around 1.30 p.m. who dialled 108 - for ambulance and took his father to Hospital. After MLC report of Hosital, Police reached at the government clinic where Mr. Berdiya was getting treatment. After finding a fractured on Left Leg and grave injuries to entire body, a town clinic referred the matter to Bhavnagar Civil Hospital, where again MLC report was prepared. Again at around 1.00 a.m. Mr. Rabari - PSI came to Bhavnagar Civil Hospital for Panchnama. However, FIR was not filed.

FIR was filed (Copy attached) with the Palitana Town Police station on 04.08.2013, after two days Mr. Ajitsinh and his family members were taken to the Police station and immediately relived. Mr. Berdiya and family has now shifted to Bhavnagr with his son Mr. Shrikant and are afraid of going back to their own house at Palitana. No justified action has been taken by the authorities. Hence, you are requested to look into the matter and do the needful.

Copies of FIR, APPLICATION AND PHOTOGRAPHS ARE ATTACHED. For direct communication to the victim Mr. Berdiya, please contact at following given address and phone number Mr. Shrikant Beldiya, G-8, Vardhaman Complex, Bhadevani Sheri, Pirchhila Road, Bhavnagar Mobile number-09825945035/08264189862

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