A close examination of the evidence secured from key witnesses in the L N Mishra murder case shows that the CBI case is riddled with holes and inconsistencies. For instance, two of the key witnesses put up by the CBI have already withdrawn their testimony. The chargesheet filed by the CBI in the court of a special magistrate in Patna in November 1975, implicating some Anand Marg workers in the murder of Mishra, is based on the statements of two witnesses, Madan Mohan Srivastava alias Visveshwaranand and Vikram. The third material witness is Girjanandan Prasad. Vikram and Girjanandan Prasad have since given statements that they were tortured into giving statements.
All commercial operations came to a halt in Lucknow and other important towns of Uttar Pradesh today as the confrontation between the government and traders escalated. Hartal was observed in 16 major towns including Kanpur, Moradabad, Varanasi and Allahabad, in protest against the police firing. The protesters demanded suspension of the officers responsible, a judicial inquiry into Saturday’s incident and abolition of the sales tax promised by the government in its election manifesto.
While New Delhi withheld its official comment on the reported US moves for a nuclear-free zone in South Asia to be guaranteed by the US, the Soviet Union and China, informal soundings in Delhi showed that India will reject the move. The New York Times quoted US officials as saying that the US president, Jimmy Carter, is expected to discuss with the Soviet President, Leonid Brezhnev, a proposal to include India and Pakistan in a nuclear-free zone. The proposal has not come as a surprise in Delhi. When the minister of external affairs, A B Vajpayee, visited Washington last month, the US administration had tossed the idea.