Monday, November 28, 2005

People's Carvan Against WTO in Tarai of UP,India


25th November 2005, Aurahwa Musahar hamlet

# The Cyclists ready for Jan Carvan at Aurahwa near Indo-Nepal Border

Amidst chanting slogans, and lots of enthusiasm, on 25th November- special day against violence against women, Aurahwa Musahar hamlet at Indo-Nepal border in Nichlaul block of Mahrajganj district witnessed the peoples launch of Jan Carvan in Tarai (II) region. With more than 200 men and women present, Bhuwari Devi (A rape victim who fought tooth and nail last year to see finally the culprit sentenced to jail and compensation from government) flagged off the Cyclists in the Cycle Yatra. These cycle riders who would traverse through parts of Maharajganj, Kushinagar, Deoria and Gorakhpur; covering around a distance of 250 KM would arrive finally at historic place Chauri-Chaura. Along the way, the Jan Carvan in the form of Jan Carvan would closely interact with poor communities, peasants and farmers, daily wage labourers, panchayat functionaries, students and other segments of civil society discussing and raising local issues. It would also through public/street corner meetings, street plays, folk dance performance, interface with panchayat and district authorities, mass rally and demonstrations discuss and raise the people’s awareness on impact of WTO/WB policies on poor people’s livelihood, access to natural resources, community decision making and the likes. An interface with District Magistrate Kushinagar in Bheri Jungle on 26 Nov., a mass rally and sit-in at Padrauna district headquarter on 27 Nov., a nukkad natak and folk art exhibition at Deoria district head quarter 2 dec., and WTO/WB/IMF effigy burning and a press conference at Golghar, Gorakhpur on 2 December are other highlights of the Jan Carvan.

# Awadhraj addresses the Sit-in at Nichlaul Tehsil

At the launch of Jan Carvan the CPI (ML) activist Mr. Harish said that feudal and elite forces in beauracracy, state judiciary and media are the main hurdles of land reforms in UP. And now UP Zamindari Abolition Act, 1950 and the Land Ceiling Act 1970 are being modified by the government to suit the interests of private companies in the state. While Kaushilya termed Jan Carvan an opportunity to make our voice heard at highest level at once.

The Cycle Yatra converted into a sit- in demonstration at Nichlaul tehsil office. Addressing the gathering Mr. Gajendra, a lawyer criticized the UPDASP approach of farming and stressed the need for an eco -friendly, people centric and sustainable agriculture policies and practice in UP. Mr. Nilay Upadhyaya of People Forum attacked the flawed banking and credit policies and said it is increasing poor people indebtedness. He also appealed every one to discourage the local informal credit system in the area. Awadhraj, Musahar Vikas Pahal Samiti representative said that PHCs and CHCs are almost always running out of necessary medicines and high cost of medicines at private stores makes it impossible for poor to save his/her ailing family member. He said it was most ironical to see that poor people’s children died of Japanese Encephalitis due to lack of medicines. Musahar Manch representative Srikant highlighted the pathetic state of primary education in Mahrajganj. Likewise Udassi, Bhikhari, Basmati, Methailal, spoke and expressed their resentment on the current affairs of development. One by one they highlighted the issues of food, hunger and livelihood, recurring floods, minimum wage and fair wage, use of compine harvesting machines, violence on women, high cost of seeds and their unavailability in the area and migration and related hazards. It was collectively shared that 3 December wont end the Jan Carvan in Chari-Chaura but rather would mark a beginning of an ongoing process of constant struggle against the imperialist policies of developed nation. Finally a Memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister of UP was handed over to Tehsildar Nichlaul and Carvan proceeded for Charbharia village for Ratri Jagran Shivir with chanting slogans “Bhookh Nahi Kaam Chahiye” and “Bajar Nahi Khet Chahiye”….

Representatives of Musahar Manch, Laghu Simant Krishak Morcha, Right To Food Campaign UP, Bhartiya Kisan Union, Peoples Union for Human Rights, Naujawan Bharta Sabha, CPI (ML), Musahar Vikas Pahal Samiti, Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Gramodhyog Sewa Samiti, People Forum, PGSS, SEEDs, and Shaswat were present at the launch and daylong demonstrations of Jan Carvan

26 October, 2005

Chitauni Bridge, Bheri Jungle and Padrauna in Kushinagar District

The Gram Panchayat of Charbharia passes a resolution against WTO policies. Addressed to Prime Minister the resolution by local panchayat says that farmers, weavers and artisan’s livelihoods are in danger hence there must not be any agreement on these three areas at Hong Kong Ministerial meeting. Now from Charbharia village the Carvan has started off for Bheri Jungle. En route the Carvan addressed three public meetings at Jehda, Katahri and Siswa.

At 01 O’clock, nearly 20 people welcomed the Cycle Yatris. The Carvan headed straight for Bheri Jungle Musahar hamlet where District Magistrate of Kushinagar Mr. Prabhu Dayal Srinivas is arrived for an interface. A good an hour interaction with DM took place. Radheshyam and Tettunia Devi raised the issues of distribution of Ceiling Land to landless. Chandrika and kaushilya proposed to start a collective fishery enterprise if the large piece of water logged land (the same has become a sort of pond) is granted permission for. Omprakash and Chanjyoti demanded Indira Awas for deseving poor people in the village. The DM said now its time to act. He asked the MVPS volunteers to come prepare with concrete proposals in the office for further action. He assured that if Musahars were willing there would be no dearth of work. Before that Vibhuti Chauhan and Srikant from MVPS spoke about the Jan Carvan.

In the evening the Carvan headed for Narayanpur Village, where they found a waiting Pradhan Mr. Ramesnsingh Chauhan with garlands and other villagers. After quick refreshment there were song and dance sequels before a meeting with panchayat members. Tomorrow the Jan Cravan will stage a rally at district headquarter Padrauna.

Report from

MVP and MVPS, Kushinagar

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Jan carvan and Karma festival against WTO-WB-IMF

Jan Carvan against WTO in eastern UP:

On 14.10.2005 a Dharna was organized by Bunkar Dastkar Adhikar Manch before District Magistrate Varanasi to protest the policies of WTO, IMF and World Bank. In this Dharna hundreds of weavers gathered from different parts of the district. Weavers submitted a memorandum to ACM (first) Varanasi, who appeared at Dharna on behalf of DM Varanasi.In their memorandum weavers demanded to halt NAMA, which is supposed to be introduced in ministerial meeting of WTO in HongKong. Weaver and Artisans signed the 4 meters banner with message of anti-NAMA demand. They shouted slogans of down –down. WTO. In this dharana hunger victims Vishambhar was also present. On the same day a press conference was organized by Jan Karvan against WTO, eastern UP in which Dr Lenin and Raj Kumari Gandhi made demand to halt the NAMA and asked the Indian Government to clarify his position on NAMA before the Indian people. He warned that if NAMA was accepted it will have disastrous effect on Indian weavers and on other marginalized communities. People’s Caravan will start its campaign in eastern UP from Balia on 24 Nov., 05, because Balia has historical importance to initiate movement against colonialism in British era. It is a land of Chittu Pandey, who led a movement against British imperialism and established independent administration in Balia for 24 hours.
On 17.11.2005 once again a press conference was organized by Hong Kong based human rights organization AHRC and Varanasi based people’s human rights organization PVCHR on KARMA FESTIVAL for land, employment and food and against World Bank-IMF-WTO, which is scheduled on 25.11.2005 - International Day Against Violence on Women would be celebrated with special focus on food security and the women in Varanasi. Famous Sarod Maestro Vikash Maharaj told that KARMA is a folk dance of Ghasia tribe of Sonbhadra. He told to media persons that 18 children in 2002-03 had been died of hunger in Raup village belonging to Ghasia Tribe and parents of the same children who died of hunger is going to perform Karma Dance in protest of WTO and in support of plural culture of Country. He told that through the policies of WTO, IMF and World Bank Indian Government was being forced to go away from the policies of welfare state and that was creating havoc among marginalized farmers, weavers and other communities and it has thrown the people on the verge of malnutrition and starvation. He said that it was duty of every Indian to come on to protest the policies of WTO-WB-IMF. Especially he called for to organized nationwide protest against NAMA, which is going to be discussed in Hong Kong next month in ministerial meeting of WTO. Ashok Sinha of Action aid International, India told that the festival would also be a symbolic protest against the decision taken by the government to withdraw subsidy on the raw materials and implements used in weaving.
Further women Human Rights activist Shruti Nagvanshi told that 152 Gram Panchayats in district Balia, UP have signed a memorandum in the protest of NAMA which would be taken to Hong Kong to give force to the protest of NAMA. In this a 30-meter long banner is being signed by so many dignitaries, which will be displayed in Hong Kong to protest NAMA on behalf of Indian people. Karma is a tribal’s resistance against monoculture of Brahmanism as well as imperialism.

From Kachnar of Varanasi in the leadership of Nandlal associated with Asha a Sampoorn kranti Yatra has been started from 23 Nov. 2005 under the banner of NAPM and Lok Samiti against the policies of WTO and Coca and Pepsi. The demand of this yatra is that India should come out of the WTO. It will end its journey at Coca Cola Plant in Mehdi ganj of Varanasi on 30 Nov. 2005.
Activists Spotlight Hunger Deaths of Indian Children
OneWorld South Asia
Fri., Nov. 7, 2003

NEW DELHI, Nov 7 (OneWorld) - The death of 18 children between July and September, allegedly due to lack of food, has sparked concerns about growing starvation in a landless indigenous community in a remote village in northern India.

As the Indian government belatedly wakes up to the long festering issue, with a decision to distribute free food packets, human rights activists working in the Sonebhadra district of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, stress that the food aid is insufficient to keep starvation at bay.

"The death of these 18 children highlights only the tip of the iceberg," says the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), a rights body based in the Uttar Pradesh city of Varanasi.

The activists fear that if the government does not give land for cultivation to the people - belonging to the Ghasia tribe - they will continue to starve. "The situation is still extremely bleak," says PVCHR convener Lenin Raghuvanshi.

The children of the Ghasia tribe - all aged between three and seven - died between July and September this year in Naibasta hamlet in Sonebhadra district in eastern Uttar Pradesh. PVCHR says that though local newspapers reported the deaths, the district administration chose to ignore the issue.

"They died of the disease of hunger, what else," Somaro, a village elder, told a PVCHR team that recently visited the area to probe the starvation deaths.

"As soon as the team entered the village, all children, women and the old gathered to see who had come. We found that most of the children were mere skeletons, as if their body and flesh had been sapped away. It was obvious that they were being dragged into the cruel clutches of death," the team said in a report to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) - a New Delhi-based government-instituted body.

On the basis of the complaint, the NHRC Tuesday asked the Uttar Pradesh administration to examine the allegations. The state authorities have to present their report to the NHRC within six weeks.

"At a recent meeting, the full commission noted that if the allegations were true, the matter required urgent attention by the authorities, as precious human rights of the tribals were alleged to have been violated," NHRC says in a statement.

The Ghasia tribe has been living in a settlement declared a forest area by the government. Decades ago, the tribe made the forest their home, after fleeing their ancestral villages to escape the tyranny of the region's feudal landlords.

PVCHR says they cleared a part of the forest and cultivated coarse grains for food. Dependent on forest produce, they supported themselves by making and selling brooms out of grass, combs and clay drums.

But forest officials drove them out of the woods, and the villagers were forced to settle in an area just near a district town.

Here, officials of the government-run Forest Department reportedly did not allow them to forage for food in the forests.

According to Lenin, as a consequence, the families are surviving on poisonous grass and wild mushrooms for the last four years.

"The adults somehow managed to survive the ill effects of the poisonous intake, but the little children were unable to tolerate the poison and succumbed to death," PVCHR says.

After the NHRC's intervention, food was distributed to the affected families on Wednesday. Lenin stresses though, that the Ghasia people need land for survival.

Only land distribution and agrarian reform can stave off deaths, he says.

Lenin states that 40 nongovernmental organizations in eastern Uttar Pradesh have launched a movement to press the demand for land for the Ghasia people.

The organizations plan to hold demonstrations and launch a signature campaign for this.

Struggle against Hunger is going on..
After agriculture, weaving is the lifeline in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. There are an estimated 5 lakh (million) weavers in the district of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. As a result of a slowdown in the weaving industry since the last four to five years, several weavers have lost their jobs, are on the look out for alternative means of livelihood and are barely surviving. Being illiterate, over half of them have been forced to take up menial jobs like pulling rickshaws. Several have opened tea stalls and other small shops. Some have migrated. But not all have been able to find an alternative means of livelihood and source to feed them. They depend on the public distribution system (PDS) for their survival.

The public distribution system is made up of ration shops across the country through which grains, sugar, cooking oil and so on are sold at subsidized rates. Depending on the type of card allotted a person is entitled to subsidised items from the ration shops. There are mainly two types of cards available. APL (Above Poverty Line) cards for the families of Above the Poverty Line and BPL (Below Poverty Line) cards for those families belonging to Below Poverty Line. Other cards coming under the BPL category were the AAY (Anthyodaya Anna Yojana Scheme) cards for the poorest families among the BPL families and ANP (Annapurna Scheme) meant for the senior citizens above the age of 65 in BPL families. The PDS is not without flaws. Prices of items in the PDS are sometimes too high not affordable to some of the poor who as a result starve to death. The process of identifying the poor is flawed as many a times the poorest do not get identified as AAY recipients. In addition the PDS is ridden with corruption worsening the situation of the poor.
Vishambhar son of Ram Nandan aged about 35 yrs belongs to a landless scheduled caste family of village Shankarpur under Chiraigoan Block, PS-Chaubepur in district Varanasi,UP,India.
He is a weaver. He took loan of Rs. 6000 from kashi Gramin Bank in 1991 and established a handloom at his home and used to earn livelihood for his 7 members family by weaving. There were total almost 5 lakhs weavers in the district of Varanasi. As a result of slow down in the weaving industry since last four to five years, most of them have lost their jobs. Vishambhar was one of them. Vishambher lost his job as a weaver but he had no land or any other source of income. Then he resolved to continue weaving at the house of his Gaddidar in Varanasi city but after some time his Gaddidar was also forced to close down his own loom.
Due to this Vishambher once again lost his job and could not be able to get job of weaving for himself again and there appeared imminent apprehension of starvation before his whole family.
Vishambher’s wife Jigna Devi joined Satyam Self Help Group (SHG), which was promoted by a NGO named HUMAN WELFARE ASSOCIATION. Jigna Devi took a loan of Rupees two thousands from SHG to give the bribe to village secretary for allotment of land. But land allotted to them was unfertile and un- productive and they could crop up nothing from that land. They got indebted but their family forced to go through the starvation.
Here it is to be noted that what the role of SHGs is for the poor people who need entitlement for their rights to right- livelihood? Therefore it is quiet clear that this type of self-help group is good for nothing. SHGs have no vision to ensure the entitlements in favour of poor people, so that they could earn their livelihood with dignity.
Vishambhar’s starving family suffered from acute malnutrition and hunger related illness. Despite facing starvation his family was not given a red ration card under the AAY and not identified as a beneficiary of subsidized food grains from the public distribution system. Due to the dereliction of duty on the part of village panchayat secretary and gram pradhan Vishambher wife Jigna died on April 16, 2005 and his 16 years old daughter Soni died on April 21 due to starvation and hunger related diseases. But it was not the end of agony. On May 21 his two-month old son also died of hunger and malnutrition. Due to the help of Lok Chetana Samiti three children of starving weaver family were sent to SOS children village at Caubeypur, Varanasi.
People’s Vigilance committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) taking the matter up of starving family filed the petitions to NHRC, Supreme Court’s Commissioners, DM and Chief Minister of UP.PVCHR raised the matter before the AHRC and FIAN international, then both human rights organizations launched hunger alert letter campaign to appropriate authorities. In the case of hunger deaths after the intervention of AHRC and FIAN international, BDO had given 20 kg rice, 50 kg wheat and 3 litres kerosene oil, but all that has finished very soon. He received AAY red card after a long battle about it.In spite of the fact that district administration has given Rs. 25 thousand for housing and 10 thousand under national family benefit scheme, but it is matter of great regret that village secretary has not handed over the money to Vishambher till today except the half installment of hosing scheme . United Nations Human Rights Commission in its Asia Pacific Daily News Review (10th June, 2005) has reported Vishambhar’s case from hunger alert of AHRC.This case of hunger deaths was published in so many newspapers from local level to national level.Vishambhar met with Mr. Jean Ziegler,UNCHR Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food on 22 August 2005 in New Delhi and reported him about his miseries and told him that there were total 400 weavers families in his village were facing imminent starvation. There is a weaver named Kanhaiya who died on 18 September 05. His plight of starvation and death has been published in Times of India, Lucknow edition. In spite of the so called expenditure of rupees 1.36 lacs under the scheme of SGRY during 2004-2005 but most of its inhabitants have been seemingly kept away from scheme and Vishambhar and family of Kanhaiya have been forced for begging. Under the scheme of food for work there is a pond near temple has been dug. In the digging of pond rules and regulation of food for work was totally ignored and machines was used in digging work.
Having met with Dr. Lenin from PVCHR,Vishambhar told about the starving families of his village. He told that nobody wanted to come forward from my village to take the matter before appropriate authority because people from upper caste and neo feudal backward community fear that they would be disgraced to take the actual condition of weaver’s family up before the society or civil society and therefore they are following the policy of silence. He told Dr. Lenin on 5th September 05 that he had begged ten rupees and hope that he would manage to get food for one time after two days.
Trade union working in Varanasi named as Boonkar –Dastkar Adhikar Manch(forum on rights of weavers and crafts persons) took up the issue of hunger death of a weaver family seriously and has decided to organize convention on the rights of weavers and has decided to launch a nation wide campaign for the rights of the weavers in era of globalization.
Convenor of PVCHR,Dr. Lenin and a member of district food and supply advisory committee, Shruti Nagvanshi filed petition on 19 September,05 with DM, Supreme Court’s Commissioners and NHRC on hunger death of Kanhaiya. It was demanded that enquiry should be made immediately about hunger deaths, social audit on SGRY,to provide the assistance to widow of Kanhaiya under the national family benefit scheme,and village secretary should be ordered to hand over the cheques to Vishambhar.
Despite so many ambitious schemes and programmes conducted by Indian Government and directions given by Supreme Court to implement these schemes, it seems that there is a little change at gross root level and incident of hunger deaths are on increase without any effective resistance. Almost whole population of scheduled cast and scheduled tribes work hard to earn their livelihood and are involved in all sorts of menial jobs but they get very meager returns for their hardworking and it becomes impossible for them to live a healthy life and as a result earning members of such SC/ST families become very soon an easy prey of malnutrition and if they once fall ill, they can hardly recover from illness and ultimately die a painful death leaving behind their whole family to die a tragic hunger death.
AHRC issued hunger alert and again issued update on it. FIAN International also issued an urgent appeal and again launched the hotline campaign on this case on 16 October 2005 (World Food Security Day).AS a result of this wife of Kanhaiya and Vishambhar were given AAY-red card and Kanhaiya’s wife Sheela was given ten thousand rupees by District Administration under the National Family Benefit

Saturday, November 05, 2005

UPDATE (India): Updates on death threats to human rights activists working with dalit and marginalized group in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

UPDATE (India): Updates on death threats to human rights activists working with dalit and marginalized group in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh


Update on Urgent Appeal

19 August 2005

[RE: UA-138-2005: INDIA: Human rights activist facing death threats for working with Dalit and Backward Community]
UP-100-2005: INDIA: Updates on death threats to human rights activists working with dalit and marginalized group in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

INDIA: Intimidation of human rights defenders

Dear friends,

The article below includes the updates regarding the death threats to human rights activists working with dalit and marginalized group in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India (UA-138-2005). It shows how your support gives an impact to improve the protection of the poor and encourage them to participate in the movement regaining their rights.

We could vote after twenty seven years

"It was like getting some water and food after a long starvation. It was like a rain after long drought…" says Ms. Bhagawathi and Ms. Kalawathi. They could not hide their happiness after being able to cast their vote in Belwa Village for the Village Panchayath election held on 17 August 2005.

For the last 27 years the dalits and the backward community in Belwa Village in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India were not able to cast their vote in any election. The upper caste dominated village in Varanasi District of Utter Pradesh never allowed the lower caste community to enjoy their right to vote. The reasons are manifold. The lower caste and the backward community is a source of free labour and faced all sought of exploitation. The caste Hindus were afraid that if their slaves were allowed to vote, they would capture power which might eventually put an end to their exploitation.

For the Village Panchayath election which just concluded on 17 August 2005, Mr. S. N. Giri, an accepted figure and human rights activist working for the dalits and the backward community filed his nomination as a candidate. Mr. Rajendra Thiwari, the former Village Headman who held the post unchallenged for about 25 years immediately realized the threat to his unchallenged power. He had contested the election formerly through his wife when the seat was reserved for a woman candidate. Mr. Thiwari and his men threatened Mr. Giri and told him that if he did not withdraw his nomination he and his colleague Mr. Lenin Raghuvanshi of People’s Vigilance Committee for Human Rights (PVCHR) and their family members would be assassinated.

On receipt of the threat Mr. Lenin of PVCHR contacted the AHRC seeking for help to intervene in the situation. The AHRC immediately issued an Urgent Appeal through its urgent appeals network (See further: UA-138-2005) and also contacted various other local and international organisations, including the UN bodies calling for immediate protection of Mr. Giri and Mr. Lenin. The UN responded through its Special Procedures Branch for Human Rights Defenders. The AHRC also contacted various government bodies and foreign consulates in India seeking support.

Due to the immense pressure from various corners, including from local and international organisations there was a response from the state government. The person who called Mr. Lenin and threatened him was arrested and later released on bail. There was a huge police presence during the immediate days prior to election and during the day of election. The following statement by Mr. Lenin itself would show how elections were held in the past and how it was held on 17 August 2005.

I am Dr. Lenin, and I work with the PVCHR, an ngo working for the dalits and the backward community in Utter Pradesh. This 17th was the election at Belwa. During the last years no other person were allowed to file nomination here other than those approved by Mr. Rajendra Thiwari. This time we asked Mr. S. N. Giri to file in his nomination. We thought he could give a fair contest since the majority of the people in this place are dalits and members from the backward community. They never had an opportunity to participate in the democratic process. So we thought there should be somebody whom the members from the dalit and the backward community could trust and could make their voice heard at places of authority. This would also help to break the servitude.

Form the day Mr. Giri filed the nomination; we started getting threats in various forms. Finally when somebody called me over my telephone and categorically said that all of us involved with the work of PVCHR and Mr. Giri would be dealt with and that Mr. Giri and myself would be assassinated, I realized that things have gone too far from what we could manage. I called up the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong and updated them the situation. Later I came to know that they have issued urgent appeals on our case calling in for support from various corners.

Support did come in. many people contacted me over telephone and inquired about the situation which in itself was a great relief. I mean to say that when you understand that one is not alone, that itself is a motivation to continue the work. The next day to all of our surprise the person who contacted me over telephone was arrested by the local police which had never happened in the past. Those who said that the police would never dare to touch them and that the police is with them found that the same police coming up against them. I am sure that it is not because the police wanted to do so, on their own, but because that they realized that if they did not do anything they would be exposed.

The police did something which never happened in the past. They came with public address systems and announced at the upper caste Hindu areas that if anyone would create confusion and commotion preventing the dalits and the lower caste from casting their vote they would be immediately taken into custody according to law. Similarly they went to the lower caste houses and announced that they are free to cast their vote and that every protection would be given for them to exercise their right. This continued for two days immediately prior to the election.

The day of poling was interesting. The dalits and the backward community started pouring in from the morning. But initially many stood behind and watched and once they were sure that no one would attack them as in the past they formed long queues and cast their vote. One another interesting element is that the women from the upper caste also came in huge numbers. Probably Mr. Thiwari was convinced that unless he let their women to exercise their right he would fail the election. The District magistrate also came to the place early in the morning and announced that anyone who disrupts the election proceeding would be immediately taken into custody and those who attempt armed attack would be shot.

At about 1 pm some people, whom we suspect are the aides of Mr. Thiwari tried to cast vote on false names and tried playing fraud. To our surprise they were arrested and taken into custody. To my memory, but for this election, never was there an election here which could be anywhere called as an election. On the election day people employed by the upper caste candidate would come, take all the ballot papers, fix the seal of the candidate of their choice and the put it back in the ballot box and the entire election would be over within a matter of few hours and those who challenged this never could live in Belwa anymore.

But this time it was different. I do not know how to thank all those who made this possible for us. Now the question is to maintain the same calm and peace for the counting, which is coming up next week. I hope things will go smoothly. This is the result of a collective work.

Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi

The whole example shows when the protection of the poor improves, they spontaneously participate in the democratic process.

Urgent Appeals Desk
The Asian Human Rights Commission

Posted on 2005-08-19

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