The Bihar government said it would arm all able-bodied persons in Bhojpur and Patna districts for self-defence against Naxalites. DIG Shivaji Prasad Sinha said district magistrates had been asked to visit affected villages and issue licences for firearms to villagers. He said the decision was taken following a spurt in armed attacks on “landowners”. The Bihar Students Action Committee, at the forefront of the JP movement, condemned the decision and said that “it was aimed at crushing the landless and Harijans who have launched a struggle to protect
their areas”. It was alleged that the aim was to capture polling booths and arm
goondas before the elections in the name of fighting Naxalites.
Indira offers to quit
At an election rally in Gujarat, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said she was willing to quit
if that would solve the problems facing the country. She accused the “Old Congress”,
now part of the Janata Front, of deviating from Congress ideology by joining hands with the “communal” Jana Sangh to defeat her. The need of the hour, she said, was for complete unity among the people and a strong and stable government with a clear policy to save the country from external and internal threats.
Heat on wheat
The Haryana government decided to invoke the Defence of India Rules to unearth hoarded wheat and check smuggling into neighbouring states. A report on wheat procurement said Uttar Pradesh and Haryana lagged behind while Punjab, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh were set to meet their targets.
Tabei on Mt Everest
The first photograph of Junko Tabei of Japan on the summit of Mt Everest was the lead visual. Tabei, who reached the summit on May 16, is the first woman to climb Mt Everest. The photo was taken by Ang Tsering, the Sherpa guide who scaled the peak with her.