Democracy activists oppose to Burma referendum

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Aizawl, May 10 (UNI) Burmese democracy activists in Mizoram, along with their colleagues across the globe, are strongly opposed to Burma's national referendum which started today.

''The fact that the Burmese military junta had not allowed international observers, strongly indicate that the national referendum is not going to be fair,'' R W Ro Za Thang, executive director of Campaign for Democracy Movement in Burma told the press here today.

The Burma's State Peace and Development Committee(SPDC) government has let in the observers from its "faithful partners", India, Thailand and China only, according to Thanga.

Except for the six townships, the worst-hit by the recent cyclone, the referendum started from May 10, and counting of votes will commence from May 15. The military junta has been trying hard to win the referendum by setting up Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA) which has forcefully enrolled government employees and students as members.

''With these and the army personnel, the SPDC is hoping to win majority votes. Even if this fails, the military junta has a number of aces up its sleeve to play mischief,'' Mr Thang said.

The last time the military junta conducted a referendum was in 1975, in which the people were "forced" to vote for the constitution through voice vote.

''Even though ballot system will be employed this time, this is only to evade international censure,'' Mr Thang said.

Meanwhile, the Chin National Council has called on all the people of Chin Diaspora across the world to protest against the ongoing referendum.

''If the draft Constitution is voted for in the national referendum, the de facto government will become a de jure government, there will be no more hope restoration of democracy in Burma,'' CNC said in a statement here today.

With more than 60,000 Chin refugees taking shelter here, Mizoram is unarguably the worst sufferers of the Burmese military junta.

''If democracy is not restored in Burma. Mizoram will continue to bear the burden,'' said Vanlalruata Tonson, Chairman of Mizoram Committee for Democracy in Burma(MCDB), urging the people of Mizoram to lend support to the democratic movement in the neighbouring country.

The MCDB further lambasted the Indian government for befriending the Burmese military junta, which is oppressing all ofrces of democracy.

UNI ZS LL/src1713

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