Villagers tricked into supporting constitution principles

Mar 14, 2008 (DVB), Villagers in Taung Twin Gyi township in Magwe division have said they were tricked into signing a statement in support of constitutional principles by local officials.

Since Monday this week, local authorities and Union Solidarity and Development Association members have been going from house to house in Kyi Sin and Nat Sin Kone villages collecting household lists.

After collecting names, identity card numbers, and parents' names and addresses, the officials made the villagers sign a document, a local resident said.

"They covered the heading on the document with their hands and wouldn't let us read it," the resident said.

"But I accidentally saw what it said, which was something like 'List of voters supporting the national referendum'."

Other villagers who saw the document more clearly said that it was an agreement in support of the 104 basic constitutional principles.

When people asked for an explanation of the 104 principles, the officials said they had already been well-publicised.

"Some people saw the agreement on these 104 basic principles and asked what they were, but the authorities wouldn't explain," the resident said.

"They just said they had been publicised on the radio and television so people should find out for themselves, and that they did not have the authority to explain them."

Villagers said that even the USDA members who were collecting signatures were overheard asking each other what the 104 principles were.

Local authorities, USDA members and education officials have also been reported collecting signatures in the same way in other villages in the township.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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