Stopping Violence in India
Many readers who attended the WRI Women’s Conference in Bangkok last year will remember Hansa Mazgaonkar of Bombay, India. Hansa was part of a group of experienced Gandhians who went to Surat, in Gujurat state, after communal rioting there killed 200 people and left thousands homeless in January. She worked to ease tensions and to investigate abuses that occurred during the rioting. One such abuse was the gang rape of several Muslim women. The rape was pre-planned, as it was videotaped.
Hansa is also continuing her work in the anti-cow slaughter movement. She has been part of a 24-hour presence in front of the Deonar slaughter house in Bombay. This nonviolent presence has continued, non-stop, for 12 years. The activists are opposed to the slaughter of cows and bullocks for several reasons: over 70 percent of India’s population lives in rural areas, where milk and manure from cows, and the labour of bullocks, is essential for farming. The sale of such animals triggers a downward spiral into poverty. The animals are butchered for their meat, which is exported mainly to the Gulf states, and for leather, which is frequently exported to the West. For more information on the anti-cow slaughter movement, and on how Western activists can help lobby for restrictions on the import of meat and leather from India, write: Hansa Mazgaonkar, Bombay Sarvodaya Centre, Friendship Building, Kajupada Pipe Line Road, Kurla, Bombay 400 072, India. Tel. +91 22 511 3660 or +91 22513 7398, fax +91 22514 3130 (include the address on the fax).
Health Care Workers Against War
Lineke Shakenbos of Vrouwen voor Vrede (VVV—Women for Peace) and colleague Mans van Zandbergen gave a presentation on nurses, war and peace this summer at the International Council of Nurses (ICN) in Madrid, State of Spain. They examined the ICN code of ethics for nurses and its application in war time and for promoting peace. As a result of the presentation, an international network has been started to help health care workers who are looking more closely at their role in war and peace. For more information contact: Lineke Shakenbos, Normapad 4, 3816 EZ Amersfoort, the Netherlands.
Indigenous Women’s Center
Pam Feldman from the US was also at the Bangkok conference, offering much needed support in the form of making photocopies. Since January she has been working with refugees along the Thai-Burmese border. She is working with the newly established Indigenous Women’s Development Center (P.O. Box 169, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50002 Thailand), which has been set up to help indigenous women from Burma who have been forced to flee their homes due to suppression by the Burmese military government. You can read more about the Center in the next issue.