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Monday, January 25, 2021

Forty Years Ago, December 5, 1980: MISA Redux

It was generally felt that the MISA was being resurrected and given a deceptive name. In a moment of unguarded candour, Home Minister Zail Singh affirmed this.

By: Express News Service | December 5, 2020 12:39:32 am
The Indian Express, December 5, 1980, forty years ago.

Opposition members tore copies of the National Security Bill and stormed out of the House when the government introduced the Bill in the Lok Sabha. They labelled the Bill, which would give the government powers of indefinite detention, as “draconian, pernicious, obnoxious and immoral” and vehemently opposed its introduction. Many members suggested that preventitve detention was being brought back with the intention of perpetuating Indira Gandhi’s dynastic rule. Ram Avatar Shastri termed it the “Indira Security Bill”. It was generally felt that the MISA was being resurrected and given a deceptive name. In a moment of unguarded candour, Home Minister Zail Singh affirmed this. He said, “We have not done anything new… only the name of the Bill is new, everything else is the same.”

Bhagalpur Bandh

Life in urban areas of Bhagalpur district was paralysed by a “total bandh” observed in sympathy with 15 police officials suspended by the government in connection with their alleged role in the blinding of undertrial criminals. Train services were disrupted by people squatting across the railway tracks. Buses went off the roads. All shops and business establishments were closed. The bandh was in response to a call given by the Bhagalpur Chamber of Commerce and the Bhagalpur Citizens’ Association.

USSR And Poland

The Central Intelligence Agency has reported to US President Jimmy Carter that the Soviet Union is ready to move into Poland any time the Kremlin decides to intervene. These moves were responsible for the solemn warnings by US Secretary of State Edmund Muskie and President-elect Reagan’s top foreign policy adviser, Richard Allen, against Soviet intervention. All western leaders have now warned the Soviet Union that if it intervenes in Poland it will destroy detente, and lead to a new arms race.

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