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BurmaNet News: May 23, 1995 [#178]

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: May 23, 1995
Issue #178

               BORDER AREA

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               BORDER AREA
The Nation 

The provincial governor called an emergency meeting of security
officials yesterday after an explosion ripped through the Burmese side
of a border bridge.

No injuries were reported. But the incident caused great concern on
the Thai side which has had strained relations with the Burmese over
the past few weeks, officials said.

The early morning blast, reportedly caused by a planted bomb,
seriously damaged the bridge crossing the Sai River in Tambon Mae Sai,
Mae Sai district.

" We have contacted Burmese officials to tell them that Thailand had
nothing to do with the incident, " said Mae Sai district chief Pakdee

Provincial Governor Kamron Booncherd headed a four-hour meeting of
border security officials. After the meeting he told reporters it was
still not known who was responsible for the incident.  
Sources said Kamron ordered intelligence officials to find out
culprit. They said the Thai officials suspected that certain Burmese
military element s might have tried to " create a
situation", or traders affected by the border closure could have been

Meanwhile, Rangoon has agreed to take back thousands of Karen refugees
living in Thailand and provide them with accommodation in
government-controlled areas in Myawadi, opposite Mae Sot District in
Tak province, said the Secretary -General of the Nation Security
Council [NSC], Charan Kullawanijaya.

The agreement was conveyed to Army Chief Gen Wimol Wongwanich by Gen
Maung Aye, deputy secretary -general of the State Law and Order
Restoration Council. Wimol attended an NSC general meeting chaired by
care-taker Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai yesterday. 
According to Charan, Rangoon was given one billion yen worth of
humanitarian assistance by the Japanese government to resettle Burmese

On March 17, Tokyo agreed to resume its humanitarian Official
Development Assistance programme to Burma after being suspended in
1988 when Rangoon crushed the Burmese pro- democracy movement. The
assistance package will be used for agriculture purpose as well as to
provide relief aid to Burmese minorities.

The NSC chief said the government will seek cooperation from
international aid agencies, in particular the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees, to provide assistance to the refugees after
they return to Burma.

" If the returnees face persecution, the international community will
share the burden of condemning the Burmese government ," he  said.

The NSC yesterday called a general meeting among relevant
authorities to review the general conditions along the border between
Thailand and its neighbouring states and to discus coordinated efforts
to deal with the insecurity on the Thai- Burmese border.

Charan said the meeting adopted a number of measures that will seal
the fate of about 80,000 Burmese and Karen refugees who have lived in
Thailand for a long time and others who have fled fighting inside
Burma since February .

National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma

Dear John/Friends:

First about NCGUB, ABSDF and others in Bangkok not responding to
request from John regarding commemorative activities for Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi.  Please try to understand the position they are in.
Circumstances are  such that choosing a low profile is the best option
for them right now. They cannot act openly like us.  I'm sorry their
response discouraged  you, John.

They are therefore planning something like a full-page newspaper ad, 
depending on how supportive the local Press will be, and to conduct a 
letter writing campaign.

The NCGUB folks in Washington on the other hand is working closely 
with different Burmese organizations, including the students, and 
supportive groups.  We have planned a letter writing campaign, 
protests at Burmese Embassy, a congressional press conference for Daw
Suu, a Burmese luncheon for friends of Burma, etc. These  activities
are planned between May 27 to July 20.

You might also be interested to know that Ms. Dayle Spencer  (Pangaea)
is promoting a Free Aung San Suu Kyi campaign.  She is  sending out or
plans to send out bracelets bearing Daw Suu's name and date of her
arrest. People who wear them are to sign a pledge card that they will
wear the bracelets until Daw Suu is released. 

The bracelet (red in color) is attractive and also gets people's 
attention.  Should become even more popular after Beyond Rangoon.
Thank you all for caring so much about Burma and its peoples. 
Regards to all.

Soe Pyne

>From U=Win%Counseling%OCC@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Mon May 22 14:36:03 1995

If SLORC is sincere about its desire to bring about a peaceful
resolution of  Burma's myriad problems brought about by the military
over the past three  decades, it must release Suu and all other
political prisoners  unconditionally and enter into serious
discussions with Suu and all other  oppositionists.  SLORC must come
to the table without any preconditions. 

SLORC must also permit political exiles and others it has arrogantly
branded  as "traitorous minions" to visit Burma freely.

Until these conditions are present, SLORC must be denied all UN-funded
aid,  World Bank loans.  Foreign tourists should be urged to boycott
Visit Burma in  1966.

U Kyaw Win
Laguna Hills, California, USA


/* Written 23 May 12:30pm by uneoo@ on igc:reg.burma */
/* ---------" Solidarity Info Letter "---------- */

[ Following letter is faxed to groups around Australia, as much as I 
could manage. Further groups will also be informed via snail in coming 
days. Hope we should hear more of their activities on the net.

48/2 Ayliffes Road
St Marys SA 5042
                                                        May 22, 1995. 
       Dear Friend:

       RE: Information on your activity on Burma

       The Burmese Relief Centre in Japan is appealing to make a
coordinated campaign by Burma pro-democracy groups world-wide to
pressure the SLORC. In this connection, we - the Burmese Students in
Adelaide - will meet on 27-May to mark the 5th anniversary of the
election. We are considering to launch a petition campaign for the
unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi and also calling for the
U.N. Security Council to implement the cease-fire and political
settlements in Burma. We will collect as much petitions as possible in
forthcoming weeks and will continue to send to the representatives of
the U.N. Security Council. The 19th June marks the 50th birth day of
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and 11th of July marks 6th anniversary of
unlawful detention for her.

Normally, it has been the case that all pro-democracy groups in      
Australia do activities on their own initiatives on these dates. 
However, we will be much greatful if you inform us of your       
activities. We now have a network to announce your activities on     
Internet as a show of solidarity with all Burma pro-democracy groups 

       Thank you for your attention and we look forward to hear from
       In Solidarity
       (U NE OO)

       SA: BA(SA), ABSL
       ACT: ABC(Int.), CRDB(International)
       NT: ABSDF

       INDIA: ABSL

/* Endreport */

The Background
     With the military coup in Burma on 18th September
1988, a new chapter  in the history of brutal army
repression on the peace-loving, pro-democracy people 
began.  Students, youth, monks and other sections of 
people who had taken to the streets demanding a democratic form of 
government were branded as "insurgents",
"communists", "anti- national"  and the like and were
treated as enemies by the junta.  Massive arrests, secret
killings and physical as well as 
mental torture became the  order of the day. It was a
period of nightmares for the people  belonging to all
sections and groups of Burmese society. The houses 
of activists as well as non-activists were raided by the
army personnel at odd hours of the night and thousands
were whisked away.
     Many more were arrested from buses and other places
while travelling. Martial law, banning the gathering of
more than five persons, any kind of procession and
indefinite night curfew, was proclaimed in the entire 
country b y
the self-powered military junta which named itself as
State  Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC).
     For a moment an atmosphere of total fear and silence
seemed to have enveloped the country. The massive military crackdown
temporarily  silenced the 
people's outcry for the resignation of the Burma 
Socialist Programme Party (BSPP)and the establishment of
the multi-party  parliamentary democracy & the restoration of basic
human rights and civil liberties. After the
September 1988 
crackdown even peaceful and  non-violent demonstrations
and processions became impossible. As the  army resorted
to more and more inhuman killings and torture ,
we  realised that our turn might not be far away though we didn't know
how  and 
To the jungles
     As Burma virtually turned into SLORC's killing field, many of us 
decided to take up armed struggle against the
brutal military  government and its intelligence, our sole objective
remaining the  establishment of a democratic
form of government.  The merciless  killings, brutal
torture from all sides increased our faith in armed
struggle.  Instead of quietly sitting and waiting for our
turn to be  arrested, tortured and/ or killed we decided
to go to the jungles, to  get military training and
overthrow the military government by returning the bullets by bullets.
     With such a conviction, thousands of students, youth
and monks left for th e
jungles, the bordering areas of the country. We were so 
disgusted, depressed and pained by the inhuman treatment
meted out to  innocent people that the only 
thing in our mind was to overthrow the  military regime
through armed struggle. 
As we left for the jungles,  the general plan was to get
military training with 
the help of foreign countries, especially western nations
for three months or s o
and then  come back to Burma to fight out the forces of
the junta. We left our homes, our parents, near and dear
ones for the freedom of our country.  When we 
left we had  little pocket money to travel by bus or boat
to  reach our destinations. Many of us had to travel on
foot to the border areas for many days. Thus, having left
everything and everyone behind,  we left for the jungle s
with the singular objective to make our  motherland free.
Thousands and thousands of students left for the 
Thai-Burma border areas, particularly to those areas where about ten 
ethnic minorities have been carrying on the
struggle against the  Burmese government. In fact, around
8,000 of students, youth, monks  and ex-armymen reached
the Thai-Burma border areas within a coupl e
of  months after the September 1988 crackdown. Of course,
on their way,  many students were arrested by the Burmese
army and intelligence  personnel, though their exact
numbers and whereabouts are still unknown. Many of them
died on their way because of bad weather,  epidemics like
malaria and due to shortage o f
food while travelling on  the high mountainous areas. 
Besides, about hundreds of students, youth  and monks
arrived at the bordering areas of Burma and Bangladesh
where  activists from the Arakanese revolutionary groups
have been carrying  on their struggle.
To India
     During the same period, about one thousand
pro-democracy activists  reache d
the border areas of India. These activists, mostly very
young  students and youth, came from the villages and
towns of upper Burma  such as Mandalay, Monywa, Sagaing
and Kalay.  Those of us who came to  the Indo-Burma border area s
had high hopes and expectations from the  government and
people of India since they have been consistently
extending their support to us in our struggle for the
restoration of  democracy and human rights in Burma.
     We already had indications and gestures which made us believe
that  India would extend its wholehearted support
to our struggle. For  example, during the 
heat of the nation-wide uprising in 1988 the  Indian
Embassy in Rangoon had openly supported the pro-democracy  activists,
including financial support to some of the
student leaders.  When many of these student leaders
decided to leave for the jungles,  the Indian embassy in
Burma gave them money. Moreover, in October 1988, at the
United Nations General Assembly, the Prime  Minister of 
India Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao as External Affairs Minister,
said, "India had watched with growing concern the trials
and tribulations faced by the people of 
Burma with whom the people of  India are bound by close
ties of history and culture".
     Thus about one thousand  of students and youth
marched to the States  on the Indo-Burma border with high
hopes and expectations of receiving  material and moral
support from the government of India in our  struggle for
the just cause.  However, on reaching the border areas our  hopes and
expectations were belied by the practical
situations  obtaining there. Those of us who had come with the hope of
acquiring military training, arms and
ammunition were utterly frustrated. No  arms and
ammunition were provided by any governmental or non-
governmental organization.  Neither the Indian government
nor any  foreign country was prepared to tender any
support or assistance even  for our survival .
We were faced with the totally different situations--
extremely bad living conditions, wide-spread malaria
across the forests and mountains and acute shortage of
food and medicine made our lives  miserable. Of course, we note wit h
appreciation that some of the  native Nagas and Kukis did
their best to help us.
     There were other serious problems we have had to face on our
arrival  on the Indo-Burma border areas. We all
belong to different places in  Burma, we ha d
different ideological orientations and organizational 
experiences and no leade r
to guide us.
     However, in spite of these difficulties which
contributed to some  initial 
personal as well as ideological conflicts among ourselves
we  resolved to do whatever in our capacity to fulfill our dreams. On
5th  November 1988, the All Burma Students
Democratic  Front (ABSDF) was  formed by the students,
youth, monks and other pro-democracy activists  scattered
along the Thai-Burma border and Bangladesh-Burma border 
areas. The ABSDF became the umbrella organization for the
students to carry on the struggle against the military
regime and for the  restoration of democracy and human
rights in Burma.
     Most of us who had come to the Indo-Burma border
areas reached the  Manipu r
and Mizoram States towards the end of 1988. After a few
weeks  of our arrival i n
India, the Government of India announced that it  would
not turn back the student refugees from Burma and that it
would  give them shelter as long as their lives were in
danger in Burma. The  Government of Manipur on its part
up the "Burmese Refugee Camp"  (BRC) at Leikhun in Chandel district.
The camp i s
about 64 Kms away from the Indo-Burma border. The
Government of Mizoram as well 
established a refugee camp at Champhai which is about 24
Kms from  the border.  
     In Manipur, we received enormous sympathetic support
from the local people ,
particularly the "Moreh Merchants Association" and "Sun
Rise  Youth Club". Unfortunately, the refugee camps
established in  Manipur and Mizoram were virtually
concentration camps. For example,  the camp in Manipur was situated
inside the Eighth Manipur Rifles compound, which
was fenced by barbed wire and surrounded by armed
soldiers. None of us was allowed to go out of the camp
without the  permission of the authorities. The food
consisting  of a small quantity of rice, potatoes and pea
and the scanty clothing provided by  the authorities was
really insufficient. No medical care was provided.  As
time passed we all felt like prisoners in a concentration
     Under such conditions, we realised that we could not
carry on our activities to fulfill our dream of a just and democratic
Burma, a  dream for which we had left our home
and hearths. Some of our friend  tried to contact
fraternal people outside the camp and also fellow  friends in the
Mizoram camp. 
However, most of them were arrested on their way by the
local police personnel. 
After being illegally kept  for some days in police
custody they were put into the notorious  "Manipur Central Jail" under
the Foreigners Act. Many of us spen t
more than a year in jail without trial. The intervention
of Supreme Court lawye r
Ms Nandita Haksar and Naga human rights activists helped
them in their release from the illegal detention.
On to Delhi
     After getting released from the jail, we approached
the United Nations Hig h
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for help. After about
two months of  our approach, the UNHCR granted refugee
status to many of us and each  person granted such status
was given a financial assistance of Rs.830  per month.
though this amount of financial assistance cannot be 
considered adequate, stil l
many of us accepted it. Even today there are many students and youth 
who have not been given refugee status or
provided with financial  assistance by the UNHCR office in New Delhi.
     Beside the financial problems, we had to face other
serious problems  as well.  First and foremost we had to
face accommodation problems.  While many friends,
including Members of Parliament, Supreme Court  lawyers
and students let us live in their houses free, many other
people, because of the difference in ethnic background,
refused to rent out  their houses to us. We had to face
the problems with regard to food and cultural habits since they are
very very different from those of  Delhi. We also had to face
communication problems sinc e
none of us  were conversant in either Hindi or English. In fact, some
of us wer e
manhandled and beaten up on the streets and buses of
Delhi, many a  times due t o
language problems.
     None of these problems and difficulties could deter
us from our main  goal 
since we had been always prepared to give up our
education,  career and even ou r
lives for our singular dream, that is, the  restoration of democracy
and human rights in our beloved country. Our 
main activities in Delhi have been basicall y
non-violent in nature and  had been directed towards
carrying on a propaganda warfare against the SLORC.  We
wanted the people of India and the international 
to  know the reality of Burma and to realise the
seriousness of the situation, the sufferings of the
innocent people under the brutal military junta's
repression and we wished to appeal to all democracy-loving people in 
India and 
the rest of the world to extend their moral and material
support to our cause in real terms. We provide below a
brief account of the major activities and programmes
organized at New Delhi during the period 1990 to 1994 
in support of our struggle for the restoration of
democracy and human rights in 
     Aiming to inform the people of India about our
democratic movement and the 
practical conditions under the military regime in Burma,
we have undertaken activities like the publication and
distribution of News bulletins, pamphlets and books, the
organization of seminars, discussions and art exhibitions
highlighting our movement, staging protest rallies and
demonstrations in front of SLORC embassy in New Delhi on
every remarkable day in the history of the polity of
Organising our office in New Delhi
     In the beginning of our arrival in Delhi, as we
started trying to do political activities, we didn't have
any permanent office. Though we tried to rent a room at a
suitable place aiming for the Office, it was not possible
for various reasons.  Many landlords did not want to rent
out their places to us. Even a small number of landlords
who agreed to rent out parts of their houses, objected to
our setting up an office which obviously would function as the center
of the political activities for our movement in Delhi. Apart from the
problem of getting a place for a
regular office, we didn't have the basic facilities such
as a typewriter, a xerox machine or  telephone, etc. and
the furniture. However, we were able to carry on our
activities with the help of some Indian friends who
provided their own furniture, stationery and other
facilities. Mr George Fernandes, a well-known Indian
politician and a Lok Sabha 
Member of Parliament, extended his unconditional support
to our movement by allowing us to set up an Office in his
residence compound, i.e. 3, Krishna Meno n
Marg in New Delhi. Moreover, he allowed us to use his
Office facilities  such a s
telephone, xerox machine, fax machine, stationery and
furniture. Although we started functioning with a manual
typewriter, a table and a chair in the beginning, after
some time it was equipped with better facilities such as
an electric typewriter which was donated by a diplomat
from the Sweden Embassy in New Delhi, some new furniture
and stationery. Besides these, some of 
our friends in foreign countries tried to send  better
equipments for our Offic e
in New Delhi.  The friends in Norway sent a computer and
we were able to buy a laser printer with the money donated
collectively by the Burmese democratic forces in Norway,
Japan and USA. Through such a process, our Office in New
Delh i
has been set up and made functional.
Meetings, Discussions and Seminars
     After setting up the Office in New Delhi, we started
trying to organize meetings, discussions and seminars
informing the people of India about Burma an d
our struggle for democracy and human rights in our
motherland.  And we participated in the meetings and
seminars in India and abroad organized by friends,
students, and other organizations which sympathize with
our movement. We record some of these below.  In June
1993, two leaders of the Burma Students 
Movement in India attended the International Socialist
Meeting in Nepal, organized by the Nepal Students Union
and International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY). In
December 1992, we joined the students and youth from 
other Asian countries attending the annual meeting of
Asian Students Associatio n
(ASA) held in New Delhi. We attended the National
Conference of the All India Youth League (AIYL) which was
held at Ranchi city of Bihar of India from 18 to 20
September 1993.  On 24-25 September 1993, we attended the
General Council Meeting of the World Federation of
Democratic Youth (WFDY) held in New Delhi. A 
delegation of the Burma Students Movement in India
participated at an International Seminar on human rights
situations in the South East Asian countries that was
organized by India's Association for Protection of
Democrati c
Rights (APDR) in Siliguri on January 27-29, 1994.
     Besides participating  in  meetings and seminars
organized by fraternal groups and organizations, we
ourselves organized a number of seminars and discussions
on Burma in New Delhi, with the support and solidarity of
the peopl e
of India. From 1991 till today, we have organized a number of
programmes and seminars on Burma such as at India
International Center (IIC), Jawaharlal Nehru 
University (JNU), Constitution Club, Press Club of India,
Janak Puri Janta Quarter Colony and of course at our
Office itself many a times.  
Publication of bulletins, pamphlets and posters
     The publication of news bulletins & pamphlets and
distribution among the people of the other countries has
been one of our main activities in our propaganda warfare
against the military dictatorship and for democracy in
Burma .
Since the beginning of 1992, we have been publishing the
Fist English News bulletin, and the Zar Tee Marn & Flame
Burmese bulletins. These bulletins have clearly helped the people of
India and abroad to realise the sufferings of
the people of Burma under the inhuman military regime as
well as the activities and 
movement of the Burmese students and youth in India. We
also have kept constant 
touch with the media and press of India seeking their
support and solidarity. W e
have regularly contacted and met reporters, journalists
and correspondents and written articles and news about
Burma in the different newspapers and magazines 
in India. Through these news bulletins and media, we made
many people of India aware of our existence in India and
about our democratic struggle.  
     In June 1992, with the help of friends from India, we have been
able to learn the basic knowledge of making
screen printing for posters, pamphlets and other designs
artistically depicting and highlighting our struggle
against the military dictatorship and for democracy and
human rights. We have been distributing and pasting these
posters on the walls of Delhi and other parts of 
     Moreover, we have been producing postcards and video
tapes which are concerned with our democratic movement. In August
1992, with the help of CENDIT 
video center in New Delhi we made a 32-minutes long
documentary on Burma titled 
"Battle for Peace". This video documentary reveals the
political background of Burma, the military's brutal
crackdown on the pro-democracy activists and our
activities and movement in India. We have distributed
these tapes throughout India and abroad. The Burma
Students Movement in India created greater awarenes s
and attracted more attention from the people of India and
abroad after this video tape. In July 1994, we made
another video documentary titled "Far Away >From Home,"
with the facilities provided by CENDIT. This video
highlights our living conditions of exiled life as well as the
activities in New Delhi.  
Paintings and Exhibitions
     The Burmese students and youth in India comprise
people from all walks of life such as musicians, lawyers,
teachers and artists, etc. One of them, the artist Ko Sitt Nyein Aye,
who is from Mandalay of Burma, is currently
staying i n
New Delhi along with the Burmese democratic forces. As a
well-known revolutionary artist, he actively participated
in the 1988 nation-wide uprising 
against the one party rule and for democracy. After the
September 1988 military 
coup, he left for India and arrived at the border area of
Burma and India. Afte r
staying there for some months, he moved to New Delhi to
join the Burmese democratic students and youth. With the
joining of the artist, many paintings have been created,
which describe and depict the culture & traditions of
reflections on the junta's brutal crackdown on the
peaceful demonstrators durin g
the 1988 movement and the people urge for peace, democracy and human
rights. With these paintings, we have been able
to organize many Art Exhibitions on man y
occasions in New Delhi, giving artistic expression to our
struggle for a just cause.
     In commemoration of the fallen martyrs of the 8.8.88
during the nation-wid e
uprising in Burma, an "Art Exhibition" entitled "Battle
for Peace" was held fro m
6th to 8th August of 1992 at All India Fine Art and Crafts Society
(AIFACS) in New Delhi.  This programme was jointly organized by the
Burmese students and Supreme Court lawyer and human rights activist Ms
Nandita Haksar. It exhibited
30 oil paintings and attracted a large number of people of Delhi from
walks of life.
     The "Battle for Peace" (II) "Art Exhibition"  was
held at Jawaharlal Nehru 
University (JNU) on September 18, 1992 to mark the Fourth
Anniversary of the 1988 military crackdown in Burma.
Signature campaigns and demonstrations
     Amongst our activities in New Delhi, the most visible and
important has been the staging of protest rallies and
demonstrations in front of the SLORC Embassy in New Delhi
on every remarkable day in the history of the polity of
Burma. There are many days in Burma's history which are
importantly related to the democratic movement in the
country. For example, 8th August of 1988 was the 
day on which the nation-wide people's uprising demanding
the abolition of one- party rule and the establishment of
democratic system broke out in the country. 
September 18th of 1988 was the day the military brutally
shot down the many peaceful demonstrators and took over
state power by coup d' tet. On July 20, 1989, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was
put under house arrest by the SLORC without
formal charges. On December 10th, 1991 Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 by the
Norwegian Parliament.
     On these days, we regularly express our anguish and
anger against the military rule in Burma in the forms of
demonstrations, processions, shouting slogans in front of
SLORC Embassy in New Delhi and the like. We also submit
Memoranda to the SLORC through the Embassy in Delhi,
demanding for the immediat e
release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political
prisoners, for handing over power to the people's
representatives who were elected in 1990 May elections.
Our demands were appreciated and supported by many people
and groups 
in India as is clear from their overwhelmingly
participation in the signature campaigns organized by us.
     Through these signature and letter campaigns the
people of India have demanded before the Government of
India not to have any relationship, diplomatic, economic
or political  with the illegal military regime in Burma an d
to support the people's democratic movement in the
neighbouring country and to extend moral and material
support to the Burmese democratic forces in India.  
     Moreover, we have regularly issued press release,
writing on the changing political, economic and social
situations in Burma and our peaceful, democratic 
activities and movement. Press conferences were also often organized
highlighting our struggle for democracy and
against human rights abuses in Burm a
under the SLORC.
The Burma Music
     In late 1992 the Burmese students and youth in New
Delhi were able to set up a music band called "The Burma
Music" with the aim to organize cultural festivals and for recording
of our democratic songs. Many among us can sing
play musical instruments very well. For us to be able to
set up a music band, one Indian friend, Ms Kamla Basin
from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 
donated money to buy electronic guitars. During the past
four years, The Burma Music has participated in the
programmes of the Burma Students Movement in Indi a
presenting music and democratic songs to the people of
     Apart from the Burmese democratic songs, the songs
which highlight the ric h
culture and traditions of Burma have also been composed
and presented. Moreover ,
in 1993, with the help of the "Friends of Burma" group we
have produced an audi o
cassette of the democratic songs in Burmese at the Jamia
Millia Islamia in New Delhi.  Through the Norway-based
radio station, "the Democratic Voice of Burma"(DVB), we
were able to transmit these songs into Burma.  
Food Festival
     Besides creating awareness about our movement among
the people of India through music and songs, we often
organized the Burmese Food Festivals, selling 
Burmese dishes prepared by ourselves. These festivals
attracted large numbers o f
people of India, besides generating funds for our
political activities in New Delhi.  The Burmese food has
become very popular and it has made our movement for
democracy well- known, especially in New Delhi. We also
joined in the functions and food melas organized by Indian friends by
setting up Burmese food 
stalls in New Delhi.
     The Burmese students in Manipur and Mizoram States
have established the te a
shops and restaurants selling Burmese food in their
respective places.  
Health Care Center
     It is very difficult for us who are refugees under
the mandate of UNHCR to 
get even simple medical treatment in the hospitals of
Delhi. UNHCR office provides the basic medical assistance
and some amount of money to buy medicines 
when we fall sick.  However, it is not at all adequate
because we are required to go to the UNHCR health care
places during the office hours only. Due to the language
and financial problems, we cannot even go to other
hospitals. Therefore, we tried to set up a clinic by our
efforts in New Delhi. In July 1993, the Voluntary Health
Association of India (VHAI) provided medicines and
facilities for setting up the "Burma Health Care Center"
in Janak Puri where many Burmese students and youth are
staying. One of us, who is a medical doctor, having
graduated from the Rangoon Medical College, is handling
the health care center with the aid of two young students
voluntarily. Though this health care center is meant
especially for the Burmese democratic students and youth
in New Delhi, it provides free medical treatment to many
Indian citizens who were driven out from Burma by the
Burmese military government in 1962. They 
have settled down at Janta Quarter of Janak Puri in New
Keeping alive our culture
     Most of the Burmese democratic forces who left the
country after 1988 military coup are the young students
and youth like us. Besides being far away from our
families, relatives and friends, we are away from the
culture, custom and traditions of Burma.  However, we try
to keep alive our traditions and culture by celebrating
the traditional festivals and religious occasions while we are staying
in exile in New Delhi. For example, we
regularly celebrate the water festival which is the
greatest traditional festival for the people of Burma and
other religious festivals such as lighting festival and
Christmas festival in our Burmese society of New Delhi.
Moreover, functions displaying our traditional dresses,
our cultural and musical instruments and th e
books on Burma have been regularly organized by us to let
the people of India know about our culture, traditions and custom.
     While we have been staying in Delhi as the recognized refugees by
UNHCR, w e
face a lot of living problems and difficulties.UNHCR's
monthly financial assistance of Rs. 830 per person is
obviously inadequate even to cover the expenditure of food and shelter
in Delhi. Without any residential permit and
ration card, our living cost becomes higher. Contributing
some amount of money from our UNHCR's allowance for our
regular activities in Delhi makes us further 
poorer and we face a lot of day-to-day living problems. We have passed
through periods when even for simple ration
like rice, pea, etc...we have not had even  a
single paisa. We used to face very bad living conditions
without adequate blankets and warm clothes in Delhi's
winter season and even without fan and air cooler during
the severe hot season of Delhi.
     In our efforts at solving these problems and
difficulties partly, we tried 
to get rice, clothes and blankets from the individuals and
non-governmental organizations of India that sympathize
with our movement. However, we have not received adequate
relief from the groups and organizations in India, but for some
helpful individuals' contribution and support. We
note with appreciation that the Oxfam (Trust) India
donated rice worth about Rs. 15,000 in 1992 and th e
CASA provided 300 blankets to us in New Delhi in 1993.
Educational Courses: Equipping ourselves for future
     Most of us, the Burmese students and youth, who left
the country after the 
1988 military coup were the college and university
students. However, we were not able to complete our
schooling due to the military's closing down of school s
and universities in Burma after the coup. During our stay
in exile, in our effort to be part of the larger struggle
against the military dictatorship and for the restoration
of democracy in our motherland, we have been trying  to
acquire knowledge and continue our studies as possible as
we can in India. We believe that our education and
acquired knowledge at this time will surely be o f
benefit for our country when we establish the democratic
system after overthrowing the military dictatorship. As
the future of Burma mainly relies upon the our generation, we need to
equip ourselves with the requisite knowledg e
and education.
     When we left our country, we were not able to bring
the educational certificates and documents along with us.
Therefore, we cannot join the college s
and universities in India. However, we have joined certain vocational
and educational courses such as Computer,
Office Management and Air Ticketing in different private
institutions in Delhi. We have also attended different
course s
like Human Rights training, Social Analysis, health
training and video training 
in other parts of India. The expenditure for the courses
were met by the financial assistance from individual
Indian friends as also from UNHCR office i n
New Delhi, YMCA (New Delhi), VHAI (New Delhi), Indian
Social Institute (New Delhi), Indian Social Institute
(Bangalore) and ACHAN (Madras).  
     Besides these courses, we have also attended both
basic and advanced courses in English language with
audio-video facilities. The "Friends of Burma" 
(India), the Open Society Fund (USA) and Lady Susan Fenn
helped us in organizin g
the English classes.
Raising Funds
     It is very difficult for us staying in exile to
sustain the movement and carry out various activities with the meagre
funds collected from some individual
sympathizers in India. We always face shortage of money
though we want to launch many programmes and activities
related to our movement. Therefore, we have had fund
raising drive programmes with the help of Indian friends.
We have organized Burmese food selling, presentation of
musical evenings at the hiring of friends from India.  We
have been selling paintings b y
renowned Burmese pro-democracy artist Ko Sitt Nyein Aye at the various
Art Exhibitions, producing and selling of T
Shirts, postcards, audio and video cassettes related to
our democratic movement to raise funds as well as for
drawing public attention towards the plight of people in
Burma under the military regime.
Support and Solidarity of the people of India
     Officially the Government of India has supported our
movement and demanded 
the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other
political prisoners in severa l
national and international fora. On 15th March 1993, Mr
Dinesh Singh, the Minister of External Affairs, Government of India
stated in the Lok Sabha that "we have repeatedly
called upon the Government of Myanmar both on our own and
i n
consonance with other like- minded countries, to release
immediately and unconditionally the Nobel laureate Mrs. 
Aung San Suu Kyi. The latest instance of our efforts in
this direction was the support extended by us by a UN
Resolution on the situation in Myanmar in December 1992,
calling on that countr y
to restore democracy and release Mrs. Suu Kyi."
     In spite of such supportive statements by members of
the Indian Government ,
the real attitude has been ambivalent. we have not
received any material or financial support either directly from the
Government of India or any other governmental
agencies in New Delhi. In sharp contrast to such
ambivalent stance 
of the Government of India, we have received extensive
support from the people of India belonging to all walks of life, such
as, lawyers, musicians, journalists, students,
political and human rights activists, Members of
Parliament, trade union leaders, teachers as well as from
several non- governmental organizations.
     On 10th November 1991, two Rangoon University
students hijacked a plane of 
Thai International Airway from Bangkok to Calcutta to draw the
international attention to the plight of the Burmese
people crying for democracy and human rights in Burma. 
After the nine-hour hijacking drama during and after which th e
struggle of the people of Burma for peace, democracy and
human rights was echoe d
throughout the world, the two students gave themselves up
to the Indian authorities. They were arrested under the
Anti-Hijacking Act and sent to the Du m
Dum Central Jail in Calcutta.  However, the people of West Bengal
extended thei r
unconditional support to the Burmese students and the
People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), an active human rights
organization, provided two High Court Lawyers to
fight the cases. Besides providing legal assistance to the Burmese
students, the PUCL extended moral and material
support to these young students while they were in the
jail. After staying for three months in the jail, these
two Burmese students were released on bail with the
support of the people of India many asking for their
release. Quite importantly, 38 Members of 
Parliament signed the letter requesting the Prime Minister of India to
give the m
political asylum in India.
     Leaders of the various political parties and
statesmen of India expressed their solidarity with our
struggle for democracy in Burma at a meeting of the
"India-Myanmar Friendship Society" held at New Delhi on
20th June 1990. In his impassioned inaugural address, Mr
P.N Haksar, the eminent statesman and former Deputy
Chairman of Planning Commission, characterised the Burmese people's
struggle in the context of a "century of
turbulence and massive awakening to th e
cause of human liberty." "Tied not only by history but by
geography and common aspirations, Indians should rejoice
in the fact that the people of Burma are overwhelmingly
asserting their desire for liberty and political
democracy," Mr Haksar said. However, he expressed his
disappointment over the fact that many Burmese who had
crossed over into Mizoram as a result of the recent
upheaval ha d
not received the attention they deserved. He also asserted that
India's support to Burma at this critical juncture
was a duty not only to the people of 
Burma, but to itself.
     Mr. K.R. Narayanan, a former Ambassador to Burma, and later the
Vice- President of India, was then the Convener
of the Meeting. In his opening address, Mr Narayanan
pointed to the close ties between India and Burma in the
struggle against British imperialism. With the military
still a strong force in 
Burma, he said, "it was the special task of Indians to
extend their support for 
the democratic processes now being initiated in that
country." Others who spoke 
at the meeting included Mr Yashwant Sinha, the General
Secretary of the Janata Dal, Mr Indrajit Gupta, General
Secretary of CPI, Mr Saifuddin Chaudhary, MP (CPM), Mr
Jaswant Singh of the BJP, Dr Gopal Singh, former Governor
of Goa and Nagaland, Dr Malavika Karlekar, Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi's classmate at Oxford, and 
Prof. M.S Agwani then Vice-Chancellor of the Jawaharlal
Nehru University. All expressed their firm support to our
struggle for democracy and vowed to offer their continued
support till an independent democratic government came to
power .
     Our struggle for democracy got a further boost when
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on
10th December 1991 by the Norwegian Parliament. On that
day, Norwegian Nobel Committee called her as one of the
mos t
extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia.
     Conferring of the Nobel Peace Prize to Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi was also greeted warmly by the people of India.
"The news has been greeted with joy and pride throughout
India. It is a most timely and an apt recognition of the
non- violent struggle launched by the people of Myanmar
(Burma) for democracy and respect for human rights under
the able leadership of Ms Suu Kyi," said the Prime
Minister of India, Mr P.V.  Narasimha Rao, welcoming the
     On 24th February 1992, the Lady Shri Ram College,
where Daw Aung San Suu Kyi did her studies in 1960s,
felicitated her and lauded her role in the people's
struggle for restoration of human rights in Burma. The
Indo-Burma (Myanmar) Friendship Society organised a
function to felicitate Daw Aung San Su u
Kyi in absentia in New Delhi on 6th November 1992.
Speaking at the function, former Minister of State for
External Affairs, Mr Natwar Singh said that if the 
Burmese government continued to debar the elected
representatives from running the country, the Indian
government should recall its Ambassador from Myanmar. H
urged the Indian government to snap diplomatic relations
with the Burmese government if the latter continued the
incarceration of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The gathering
adopted a resolution expressing regret over the fact that
acts of barbarism on the Burmese people, the Indian
government had been discussing with the Burmese military
regime to expand trade and other ties between the two
     In India, we have been very pleased by the supportive attitude
and solidarity shown by the students of India.
After our August Art Exhibition at AIFACS in New Delhi the students
from Jawaharlal  Nehru University rendered their
wholehearted support to us by offering  to sponsor a
programme at JNU. Along with the Initiative for Democracy  in Burma
(JNU) we were able to hold an 
Art Exhibition, a Symposium on Burma, and sale of Burmese
food and a cultural programme at JNU on  September 18,
1992 to mark the Fourth Anniversary of the 1988 military 
crackdown. The JNU students joined the programme in large
number s
and thronged the  stall selling Burmese dishes prepared by ourselves
in the lus h
green  lawns of the JNU academic complex in large numbers, expressing
their solidarity with our movement.
     Apart from the support of the students from
Jawaharlal Nehru University we 
have been  able to achieve the unanimous support of other
student  bodies in India. On 30th November 1992, a meeting entitled
Indian  students in solidarity 
with the struggle for democracy and human  rights in Burma was jointly
organize d
by the various Indian students'  organizations : AISF,
AISB, CJD, SFI and NUSI at India International  Center
(IIC) in New Delhi. At the meeting the Indian student
organizations adopted a resolution in which they expressed "deep
concern" over the continuation of the military rule
in Burma and  violation of human rights by the junta. 
They urged the Burmese  military junta to free all
political prisoners and demanded the restoration of
democracy. Many well known Members of Parliament from 
various political parties of India also attended th e
meeting and  delivered speeches.  Shri V.C Shukla
(Minister of Water Resources I.N.C), Shri Saifuddin
Choudhary M.P (CPM), Shri Sushil Bhattacharya (R.S.P),
Shri S. Jaipal Reddy M.P (Janata Dal) and presidents and 
general secretaries o f
Indian students bodies were among the prominent
participants. On the occasion, the following resolutions
were moved by  the Convener of the Initiative for
Democracy in Burma, JNU, New Delhi.
1.   The Government of India should snap all diplomatic
relations with SLORC. 2.   The Government of India should
give diplomatic recognition to the National 
     Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB).
3.   The  Government of India must provide moral and
material support to the      Burmese refugees residing in
India. None of the refugees should be      deported.
4.   The  Government of India should take necessary steps
to expel SLORC from      the membership of NAM.
     In the early years of our arrival in India, different groups and
organizations were set up by us  because of
personal and ideological differences, and, for the
weaknesses in practising the democratic norms  and
principles and also due to lack of experience. However, as times 
passed, these 
groups had to come together into a single movement 
strengthening the understanding and unity among ourselves. As a 
result, for the first time, all the Burma students
organizations in  India jointly organize Save Burma from
Civil War programme in Delhi  starting from 4th to 9th
January 1993 in order to 
boycott the Sham  National Convention convened by the
military regime.  As part of the  programme, all the Burma students'
organizations and All Burma Young Monks'Union
(Arakan) jointly organized an exhibition of paintings,
photographs and posters at the Press Club of India, New
Delhi. The  paintings, posters and the photographs very
touchingly depicted the  heroic struggle for democracy and human
rights by all sections of  people in Burma and also
the brutal, atrocious and inhuman crackdown  by the
military junta. The exhibition was inaugurated by the
eminent  and elderly statesman, Mr. P.N. Haksar.  
     We have received help from a specific section of
Indian  peoples in tackling our day to day living
problems. Many thousands of Indians  who were driven out
from Burma by the Burmese military government in  1962
have settled in New Delhi. In 1962, after overthrowing an
elected  democratic government led 
by U Nu, the coup leader U Ne Win and his  "Revolutionary
Council" according to 
their "Burmese way to Socialism" nationalized all
industries including the properties owned by the Indians
without compensation. These Indians were sent back to
India in and after 1962.
     Thousands of them have settled down at Janta Quarters of Janak
Puri situated in West Delhi. These Indian
citizens have very high regard  for the peoples of Burma.  They also 
understand the customs, cultures  and also
Burmes e
language. They treat us as their own relatives, sons  and
daughters and they help us in many effective ways, solving our day  to
day living problems and difficulties.
     On 12th February 1993, we, under the banner of
Indo-Burma Solidarity Forum ,
organized the 4th anniversary of the Union Day of Burma at  Janta
Quarter of Janak Puri where most of the Burmese
students and  Indian expatriates have been 
staying.  The function included a public  meeting,
cultural presentations and sale of Burmese food.  Hundreds of  Indian
expatriates apart from the Burmese democratic 
forces in New Delhi enthusiastically participated at the
public meeting. Speaking at  the meeting, the participants expressed
their strong and determined  support and
solidarity to our democratic movement and pledged to
extend their humanitarian support to the students and
youth from Burma  during their stay in New Delhi to the
best of their capacity.
          "The Gong of Burma" programme ,jointly organized by the
Manushi, a women's journal and  India International Center , was held
at IIC Auditorium, New Delhi  from
September 3rd to 5th of 1993. The programme included an
exhibition of paintings by Ko Sitt Nyein Aye, a panel
discussion on  Burma, music presentation and Burmese food
festival, providing  glimpses of the social ,
cultural and political milieu of Burma.  Moreover, there
was a Slide Show on Burma which was presented by Lady
Susan Fenn, who has spent several years in Burma when her
husband was  posted there as British High Commissioner.
The programme was  inaugurated by Ms Maneka Gandhi.
The paintings were on sale in raising  funds for the
activities of the democratic movement launched by the 
Burmese students and youth in Delhi. Half of the paintings exhibited 
were sold in two days of the programme. Eminent personalities
participated in the panel discussion which
was chaired by former diplomat and well-known journalist
Mr Kuldip Nayar. The panelists focussed on the  political
situation in Burma, its historical background and the
plight  of 
the Burmese people under the barbaric regime of the
military junta.  The Burmese military government, SLORC, became the
focus of condemnation by all speakers. Prominent among the speakers
were  former Indian diplomat Mr I.P Singh, Professor Dr.
Baladas Ghoshal  from JNU, Dr. Malavikar Karlekar from
Centre for  Women's Development  Studies, who is also a classmate of
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Sir  Nicholas Fenn, a former British High
Commissioner to Burma and Ko Soe Myint of Burma
Students League.
     During our various programmes and activities
undertaken for the restoratio n
of democracy and human rights in our motherland, we have
strengthened our solidarity and friendship with other
struggling  people and groups fighting for 
freedom and democracy in their own  countries. The people
of Tibet have been struggling for their freedom  from
Chinese occupation through non-violent ways for many
years. In Delhi, the Tibetan Youth Congress has been
organizing different  programmes to inform the people of
the world about the plight of the 
Tibetan people under Chinese occupation.
     On December 10, 1993, we, the Burmese students and
youth in New Delhi  and  the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC)
jointly organised a  programme to mark the World Human Rights Day. The
protest rallies both  in front of SLORC Embassy and
Chinese Embassy in New Delhi, the  Candle-light peace
procession in  honour of those who sacrificed their  lives for freedom
and a cultural get together were part of the two-day 
programme. About 150 India-based Burmese students and
members of RTYC participated in the programme.  
     Besides organising these different kinds of
programmes and activities  in Delhi, we have travelled to
other States of India. During such  visits to other 
States, we have been meeting local people including 
students, social workers and leaders of political
organizations. We  also have been organizing press
conferences, publicising about our democratic movement in
Burma. We have got tremendous support and  solidarity from the people
belonging to all parts of India. During the 
past three years, we travelled to Calcutta, Madras,
Bhopal, Bangalore,  Mysore, Siliguri and the North Eastern States,
setting up solidarity network with the people of India.

end of Part 2

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