CACIM DELHI DEMOS BULLETIN 17 : Urgent support actions required

From New Delhi, Thursday, April 13, 2006
PLEASE SEND ON
No fresh news today. But many important support actions you can take; see below. This is a crucial moment; please act.
The last document in the digest below is a list of the people present at the co-ordination meeting between various groups on April 11 2006 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, that decided on the National Day of Action in India on April 18, to support the Narmada and Bhopal actions. If this decision leads to a convergence between movements, then this, in hindsight, will be a significant meeting in history.
In this issue of CDDB :
[1] Take Action TODAY to Support the Bhopalis’ Demand for “Right to Live”! (April 13)
[2] URGENT SIGN ON LETTER : INTERNATIONAL APPEAL TO THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA April 12)
[3] SALT, DAMS, NUKE SITES: INDIA’S STRUGGLE (April 6/13)
[4] List of People Present at the co-ordination meeting between various groups on April 11 2006 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, that decided on a National Day of Action in India on April 18, to support the Narmada and Bhopal actions (April 11)
Jai Sen, for CACIM
Note : All back issues of this Bulletin (the CACIM Delhi Demos Bulletin), number 0 onwards, are available @ : http://www.cacim.net/twiki/tiki-view_articles.php?type=article&topic=1
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[1] On 13.4.06 10:58am, “Priya Ranjan” wrote:
Take Action TODAY to Support the Bhopalis’ Demand for “Right to Live”!
Your last call action on Friday to New York consulate did the magic and got us an instant appointment. Please do the same today ~ Somu
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Take Action TODAY to Support the Bhopalis’ Demand for “Right to Live”!
Indefinite Hunger strike is on day 3 and the government has shown no signs of any action. Guess, we have to knock the doors even harder and louder.
> Ask the Deputy consul general TODAY on why Government is not listening to Bhopalis request for ‘clean water’;
> Ask him on how many people, and how long, should be doing the hunger strike to attract Government’s attention.
1. Call the New York Consulate’s – Deputy Consul General Mr. Ghanashyam @ 212-774-0635
2. Email the Indian Government and the Consulates:
http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/FaxAction/email_action.php
3. Sign up to Fast a Day for Bhopal!
https://www.bhopal.net/2006hungerstrike.html
4. Have your friends and contacts send a fax to Prime Minister and demand fast justice:
http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/FaxAction/fax_action.php
Thursday’s Goal: 25 Calls!
Every day an SfB/AID alert will ask Bhopal supporters to take action in support of the March to Delhi. International support has been crucial in many of the victories we’ve won thus far. Please take a moment to call or email so that we can keep the pressure on the Indian Government and reach our daily goal!
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Read the demands of the March!
More information about the March to Delhi!
Read the latest updates on the M2D blog !
“People United, will NEVER be defeated!!!”
http://bhopal.aidindia.org/
Hello everybody,
Thanks to folks in Austin, Bay Area, Boston, College Park (Maryland), Houston and Seattle, for organizing solidarity candle-light vigils yesterday to extend their support to the Bhopalis who have embarked on an indefinite hunger-strike in New Delhi.
A few sample pics from all the cities are uploaded at:
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/nirveek/album?.dir=7bc9&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//photos.yahoo.com/ph//my_photos
The locations for the vigils on April 11 were:
Bay Area, CA – Naz 8 Cinema, Freemont – 7:30-8pm – 8 people
Boston Area, MA – Central Sq. Cambridge – 7:30-8pm – 12 people
College Park, MD – Hornbake Mall, Univ. of MD, College Park, 7:30–8pm – 15 people
Austin, TX – Near the MLK statue, 7:30-8pm – 25 people
Houston, TX – outside Bombay Sweets restaurant, 5827 Hillcroft St, 10 people, 7:30-8 pm – 18 people
Seattle, WA – Red Square, University of Washington. (Area surrounded by Kane Hall, Suzallo Library), 7:30-8pm – 23 people
Seadrift, TX – Union Carbide Plant, 10 Women and children including Diane Wilson, 7pm start – 10 people
The Seattle Vigil has been covered in the U Washington Daily http://thedaily.washington.edu/
These photos have been forwarded to all the consulates and embassies … but please feel free to send them more emails with copies of the photos (also the media release on the Seattle Vigil) Heres the sample letter I used for forwarding the photos (please feel free to use/modify them):
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Dear Ambassador Ronen Sen
(Change this to Consul General for a specific City)
As you might know, 46 survivors from the Bhopal Disaster, marched for about 500 miles to New Delhi from Bhopal to demand a life of justice and dignity from the Prime Minister of India. After reaching Delhi, they have camped at Jantar Manatr hoping for an appointment with Shri Manmohan Singh. However, 15 days have passed without the Honorable Prime Minister not even meeting with the survivors, let alone look into the humble and basic demands that they have.
Seeing no other alternative on the horizon, 6 Bhopalis, irrespective of their ailing health, have decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike, starting April 11. It is shameful to see that these poison-ravaged citizens of India have to take recourse to a hunger-strike to attract the attention of the Prime Minister! As a non-resident Indian residing in the US, it appals me to see the Indian government paying no heed to the rightful demands of its own citizens.
In a solidarity action all over the US, last night, supporters of the Bhopali survivors, spontaneously joined in candle-light vigils in the evening at the following places:
Bay Area, CA – Naz 8 Cinema, Freemont – 7:30-8pm – 8 people
Boston Area, MA – Central Sq. Cambridge – 7:30-8pm – 12 people
College Park, MD – Hornbake Mall, Univ. of MD, College Park, 7:30–8pm – 15 people
Austin, TX – UT Austin Campus, outside engineering hall, 12 people, 7:30-8pm – 22 people
Houston, TX – outside Bombay Sweets restaurant, 5827 Hillcroft St, 10 people, 7:30-8 pm – 18 people
Seattle, WA – Red Square, University of Washington. (Area surrounded by Kane Hall, Suzallo Library), 7:30-8pm – 23 people
Seadrift, TX – Union Carbide Plant, led by Diane Wilson, 7pm start – 10 people
You can look at the pictures from the vigils at:
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/nirveek/album?.dir=7bc9&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//photos.yahoo.com/ph//my_photos
The vigil at Seattle, Washington was covered on the front page of The Daily – http://thedaily.washington.edu/
Over 300 people have registered for a relay global hunger strike in support of the Bhopalis!! When will the government of India wake up from its slumber to listen to its citizens?
I whole-heartedly support the 6-point charter of demands of the Bhopalis, and I firmly believe the Indian Government should as well:
1) National Commission on Bhopal: The Government should set up an interministerial coordinating agency, with necessary authority and funds to provide facilities for health care, medical research, social support and economic rehabilitation of the people poisoned by Union Carbide/Dow Chemical and their children for at least the next 30 years. This commission must have the active participation of non-government doctors, scientists and representatives of survivors organisations.
We will return to Bhopal when the Government announces the setting up of the agency along the above lines, and commits to funding it with a corpus that will yield Rs. 50 crores per year.
2) Provide Safe Drinking Water: Commit full funds for the implementation of the May 2004 Supreme Court order and provide clean piped drinking water from Kolar reservoir to communities affected by Union Carbide/Dows contamination.
We will return to Bhopal when the Government of India commits to allot at least Rs. 10 crores to the Madhya Pradesh Government for construction of pipeline and other infrastructure to deliver clean water from Kolar Reservoir.
3) Prosecute Union Carbide and Anderson: Set up a Special Prosecution Cell in the Central Bureau of Investigation with representatives from the Ministry of External Affairs for the speedy prosecution of Union Carbide Corporation, Warren Anderson and other accused in the criminal case of the December 1984 disaster.
We will return to Bhopal when the Government of India commits to setting up a Special Prosecution Cell in the CBI to focus on the Bhopal criminal case.
4) Make Dow Clean Up and Pay: Ensure scientific assessment of the depth and spread of toxic contamination in and around the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal and make Union Carbide or its current owner, The Dow Chemical Company, pay for the clean-up of toxic contamination and also compensation for related health and environmental damage.
We will return to Bhopal when the Government of India commits to performing a comprehensive assessment of cost of clean-up, and use legal and extra legal options to make Union Carbide/Dow Chemical pay for assessment of contamination and clean-up. Legal options for the Indian Government include playing a more active role in the case currently being heard in the New York court claiming damages and clean-up from Carbide.
Estimated costs of clean-up range from $25 million to $500 million, and highlight the lack of a comprehensive assessment and estimate of costs.
5) Blacklist Dows Union Carbide Products: Dow has refused to own up to Union Carbides liabilities in India, and should therefore not be allowed to profit from Union Carbides assets. Moreoever, Union Carbide is an absconder that has said it is not subject to the jurisdiction of Indian courts.
We will return to Bhopal when the Government of India blacklists all products, processes and technologies that are owned by or have their origins in Union Carbide.
6) Remember Bhopal: Include representatives of survivors organisations in the creation of a memorial to the disaster, declare December 3 as a National Day of Mourning for Victims of Industrial Disasters and Pollution and ensure that the Bhopal disaster and its aftermath is included in school and college curricula.
We will return to Bhopal when the Government of India commits to ensuring that a memorial in Bhopal with the full participation of survivors, and commits to introduce the story of the Bhopal disaster in school and college curricula..
Thanking you,
Yours Sincerely,
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Your voice counts!!
Support Narmada Dam survivors!
Support the police firing survivors at Gangavaram!
Show your solidarity with women of Manipur in fighting rapes!
Support Bhopal’s Demand for Justice and Dignity by Sending a FREE FAX to the Indian Government!
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[2] From “debate: SA discussion list” debate@lists.kabissa.org
Wed, 12 Apr 2006 08:23:39 +0200
URGENT SIGN ON LETTER : INTERNATIONAL APPEAL TO THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ON THE NARMADA STRUGGLE
(Please send your endorsements of this letter to Benny Kuruvilla in Focus on the Global South India. His email address is bennyk@focusweb.org )
INTERNATIONAL APPEAL TO THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Dear Prime Minister Manmohan Singh:
We are individuals and groups writing from across the world to express our deep concern on developments regarding the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and its fight for justice for the thousands displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
We learn that activists, including Ms. Medha Patkar, Mr. Jamsingh Nargave and Mr. Bhagwati Patidam, have been on an indefinite fast for 2 weeks already to protest the gross negligence of your Government in providing timely and appropriate rehabilitation to those displaced by the project. It is indeed regretful that in response, your administration sent in a posse of over 400 police to forcibly arrest Ms. Patkar and Mr. Nargave. Media reports indicate that several peaceful activists of the NBA were beaten up. This violent and unjust response to peaceful and democratic protests is a violation of the democratic traditions of India and is a blot on your Government.
It is well documented that the Sardar Sarovar Project has displaced tens of thousands of indigenous peoples and farmers, very few of who have been fairly compensated and rehabilitated. The move to further increase the dam height is completely unwarranted when families who were promised rehabilitation (and have still to receive it) are sitting for justice in the streets of Delhi. Independent reports estimate that thousands of people spread over 200 villages in the project-affected areas still await basic rehabilitation. In this context it is not surprising that two of your predecessors, Mr. V. P. Singh and Mr. I. K. Gujral, have called for dam construction to be halted until the rehabilitation issue is adequately addressed.
Many of us have been deeply inspired by the non-violent resistance traditions of the NBA, which are rooted in the unique Indian concept of ‘satyagraha.’ The struggle by Ms. Patkar and her colleagues ask for nothing more from your Government than a reaffirmation of the
Indian Constitution’s commitment to democracy and justice.
Echoing the NBA’s demands, we call upon your Government to immediately undertake a thorough assessment of the Sardar Sarovar Project on economic, social, environmental and developmental parameters. Until such an assessment, with the active participation of affected communities, is done we believe that a standstill in project construction is a just and reasonable demand.
We will remain in constant touch with our friends in India and will continue to help them in anyway we can in their fight for justice from your Government.
Sincerely,
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[3] >From : South Asia Citizens Wire | 13 April, 2006 | Dispatch No. 2235 :
truthout.org
06 April 2006
SALT, DAMS, NUKE SITES: INDIA’S STRUGGLE
by J. Sri Raman
Today, India is witnessing a re-enactment of an episode of the country’s freedom struggle and its most significant and inspiring saga. On this day, 76 years ago, Mahatma Gandhi launched his Salt Satyagraha, to assert the common Indian’s right to manufacture his own salt, a right that the British colonial rulers sought to deny. Gandhi’s memory and message have now created and catalyzed a movement to protest and resist a post-Independence ban on production and sale of common salt.
Today, a 52-year-old woman, social activist Medha Patkar, continues her Gandhian fast in New Delhi’s prestigious hospital, the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), amidst administrations of saline water. She is protesting against displacement of thousands of people by a dam project in Gujarat, no less prestigious to the powers-that-be, and to reiterate her endlessly repeated demands for their dignified rehabilitation.
Today, it is 18 days since an earthquake of undisclosed intensity shook, if only for a few seconds, an area in India’s deep south that harbors a nuclear complex, to which major additions are being made shortly. Feeble voices have been raised over what this means for the people of the region, devastated by the tsunami not long ago, but questions from those concerned have been dismissed with a contempt that they did not deserve.
The three apparently disjointed events together serve to illustrate a development strategy that directly threatens the people of India and the cause of peace within the country and in the sub-continent as a whole.
The Mahatma’s Salt Satyagraha was a conscious and a marvelously creative attempt to put the poor people at the center of the Independence movement. It is a sad irony that, after nearly six decades of independence, the poor salt farmers and salt consumers of India have to fight to protect their right from corporate masters in place of the colonial ones. The ban on non-iodized salt will spell ruin for salt farmers on the shores of Gandhi’s Gujarat and elsewhere as well as at least a five-fold increase in the price of salt for the common man.
The government and its experts, of course, have not cared to answer any of the questions from critics of the ban. Such as: why this hurry to ban common salt consumed through millennia with no disastrous health consequences when tobacco products suffer no trade restriction, when there is no plan even to consider pleas for controlling sale of pesticides found to be harmful, if only in cases of heavy use? Does lack of iodine alone cause the health disorders that non-iodized salt is blamed for? Is not over-iodized food, too, known to pose health hazards?
The government and its experts have cared even less, over two decades, to answer questions over the project to build a network of dams over River Narmada flowing through three states of India – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The main question here has been about the displacement by the dam project of nearly 200,000 people in all. Mostly aboriginals, tribal people, as the mainstream, middle-class India calls them, they had no one to speak up for them until Medha Patkar made their cause hers.
Medha’s Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Movement), or the NBA, has seen many ups and downs in its struggle. But it has scored two major victories. The first was when it succeeded in forcing the World Bank, the original funder of the project, to withdraw. The second victory was the verdict of India’s Supreme Court that asked the project authorities to rehabilitate the oustees, as required under approved guidelines, before proceeding with the project by increasing the dam’s height. The current NBA protest follows an alleged violation of the court order.
The question of dams and development – specially the optimum size of dams from the viewpoint of environmental and economic viability – can be debated endlessly. And it has been. Beyond all debate, however, is the imperative need to ensure the rehabilitation of the displaced, who, in this farm-dependent community, are also the dispossessed. As Arundhaty Roy, vilified even more for defending the displaced than for denouncing India’s nuclear bombs, has pointed out, all the data about all the dams built since 1947 (including their dimensions, budgets and envisaged irrigation benefits) are available except in one respect. There is no record – none – of the number of those displaced by the dams, of where these people disappeared to.
The famished and feverish Medha made the same point when she whispered to the media, before being whisked away to the hospital: “Perhaps they would not have bothered at all about these people waiting to be drowned (by the heightened dam), if I had not come and sat here (on a fast). It is a sad thought.”
It was even less surprising when the concerned authorities refused to answer any question about an earthquake that shook an area including Koodankulam, site of a nuclear complex, on March 19. The event was described only as a “mild tremor” in English-language newspapers that cared to cover it at all. Dailies of the local Tamil language described the cracks in houses caused by the quake, but this section of the media has very little influence in India’s corridors of power, yet to recover from a colonial hangover.
The tsunami devastated the same region, but the disaster was dismissed then as too unusual to warrant a concern about nuclear safety. The tremor of March should have compelled the authorities to wonder if the area could now be considered quake-prone. They, however, could not even be persuaded to disclose the intensity of the tremor. Just as they did not care to allay fears caused by the tsunami havoc in the area of the better-known Kalpakkam nuclear complex, now officially acknowledged as one of “strategic” importance.
The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, active in the area, has voiced added concern over the plans to build two more nuclear power reactors in Koodankulam. It is being ignored, however, as an odd group out of sync with the times, when India looks forward to a luminous nuclear future as a direct result of the deal with the USA under the George Bush administration. What does a possible nuclear calamity matter, when the deal puts no cap on the nuclear-weapon program either, and keeps alive all those alluring prospects of a deadly arms race in the sub-continent?
The three events together illustrate a development strategy that has no place or thought for the defenseless people it threatens. The re-enactment of the Mahatma’s salt march, the countrywide response to Medha’s fast, and the questions that belie claims of a national consensus over the nuclear issue illustrate something else: determination of the people not to stay silent spectators of the unfolding strategy.
A freelance journalist and a peace activist of India, J. Sri Raman is the author of Flashpoint (Common Courage Press, USA). He is a regular contributor to t r u t h o u t.
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[4] List of People Present at the co-ordination meeting between various groups on April 11 2006 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, that decided on a National Day of Action in India on April 18, to support the Narmada and Bhopal actions
[Please overlook any errors in spelling, the writing was often difficult to read.] 1. Kavita Krishnan, CPI(ML) Liberation & AISA, New Delhi
2. Pragya Vats, The Other Media, New Delhi
3. Rindhu, The Other Media, New Delhi
4. Finn MacCool, The Other Media, New Delghi
5. P K Shahi, AIFTU, New Delhi
6. Umakant, AIFTU, New Delhi
7. Sushant, PSSP, Kashipur, Orissa
8. Harjot Singh
9. Sandeep Kumar
10. Arundhati Roy, New Delhi
11. Monika, Jagori, New Delhi
12. Neelam, Freelance Photographer, New Delhi
13. Nandini
14. Kausalvya Salvi, Shahar Niwas Manch, Mumbai
15. Ayyshabi Quereshi, Mumbai
16. S A Azad, Prasar
17. Rajendra Ravi, NAPM, Delhi
18. Alok Agarwal, NBA, Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh
19. Dipti Bhatnagar, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Badwani Madhya Pradesh
20. S P Bimiwade, NBA, Baroda
21. Himanshu Upadhyay, Delhi Forum, New Delhi
22. Satish K, Film Maker, Geeth, Trivandrum
23. Biraj Swain, Water Aid
24. Shai Yaswant, Images.Words.Actions, Bangalore
25. Nityanand Jayaraman, Chennai
26. Madhumita Dutt, Toxics Link
27. Kavita Srivastava, PUCL, Jaipur, Rajasthan
28. Rajeev R Singh, Delhi
29. Sandeep Singh, AISA, JNU, New Delhi
30. Ravi Rai, CPI(ML), Delhi
31. Rajesh Gupta, Mandala, Indira Nagar, Mumbai
32. Rafiq Sheikh, Mandala, Indira Nagar, Mumbai
33. Javed Sheikh
34. Asfaq (illegible handwriting)
35. Seema, Jagori, New Delhi
36. Kavika, ARSD, Delhi
37. Bipin Chandra, SANDRP, Delhi
38. Suoparna Lahiri, Delhi Forum, New Delhi
39 Syed M Irfan, BGPMPS Morcha
40. Mumtaj
41 Iqbal
42. Dawood Ishaq
43. Rashidava
44. Vimlendu
45. Sunny Verma
46. Adaut
47. Kulavati Verma, Mumbai
48. Roshan Begam, Janant Nagar, Mumbai
49. Anita Bi, Mumbai
50. Reshma Babu Sihikki, Mumbai
51. Yogin, NBA, Baroda and Mumbai
52. Dipti, NBA, Baroda
53. Biniwalaji, NBA
54. Ketty, Mumbai
55. Shivpoojan Lal, Mumbai
56. Mohammad Ranjan Shatta, Mumbai
57. Mishri Lal Kevat, Mumbai
58. Achan Ravi, Mumbai
59. Kasam Khan, Mumbai
60. Ramji
61. Vinuta Gopal, Greenpeace
62. Ranwar Ali Sheikh, Mumbai
63. Vimal Bhai, Delhi
64. Matu, Janasangathan
65. Emran
66. Renu, PSU, JNU, New Delhi
67. Suneetna, DSU, JNU, New Delhi
68. Jeetendra Kumar
69. Anil, Dilli Shramik Sangathan, Delhi
70. Anita, Dilli Shramik Sangathan, Delhi
71. Karamjit, Dilli Shramik Sangathan, Delhi
72. Ramendu, Dilli Shramik Sangathan, Delhi
73. Satyam, SRUTI, New Delhi
74. Sasvati, SRUTI, New Delhi
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THINGS TO CHECK OUT :
* FORTHCOMING in 2006 :
o Nayi Rajniti (‘New Politics’), Hindi edition of Talking New Politics, Sen and Saini, eds 2005
o Nayi Subah Ki Or (‘Towards A New Dawn’), volume 1 of Hindi edition of World Social Forum : Challenging Empires
o Are Other Worlds Possible ? Books 2 & 3 – ‘Interrogating Empires’ & ‘Imagining Alternatives’
* Open Space Webspace : www.openspaceforum.net
* WSFDiscuss – an open discussion listserve on the World Social Forum and cultures of politics in movements : Send an empty email to worldsocialforum-discuss-subscribe@openspaceforum.net
* Out in 2005-6 : World Social Forum : Challenging Empires – in German, Japanese, Spanish, and now in Hindi and Urdu !
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January 2005 : ‘Are Other Worlds Possible ? Talking NEW Politics’
Preview : http://www.choike.org/nuevo_eng/informes/2487.html
Publishers : Zubaan / zubaanwbooks@vsnl.net
Tel: +91-11-2652 1008, 2686 4497, and 2651 4772
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In late 2004 :’Explorations in Open Space : The World Social Forum and Cultures of Politics’
Issue 182 of the International Social Science Journal
Editorial advisers : Chloé Keraghel & Jai Sen
http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/servlet/useragent?func=showIssues&code=issj&open=2004#C2004
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2004 Book : ‘World Social Forum : Challenging Empires’
Edited by Jai Sen, Anita Anand, Arturo Escobar, and Peter Waterman
http://www.choike.org/nuevo_eng/informes/1557.html
India / South Asia distribution : Viveka Foundation,
info@vivekafoundation.org, viveka4@vsnl.com
2005 : NOW OUT also in German, Japanese, Spanish, and forthcoming in Hindi and Urdu
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Jai Sen
CACIM – India Institute for Critical Action : Centre in Movement
A-3 Defence Colony, New Delhi 110 024, India
www.cacim.net
Em jai.sen@cacim.net – PLEASE NOTE MY NEW EDDRESS !
[+ while travelling, ALSO jai_sen2000@yahoo.com] M 91-98189 11325
T 91-11-4155 1521 and 2433 2451 – Please note change in one phone no
+
Italitar, Hattigauda
Kathmandu
Nepal
T 977-1-437 0019 and 437 0112

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