Although the Indian government is somewhat surprised at the latest reports in the government-controlled Pakistani press criticising India, a spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs expressed hope that the talks in Delhi beginning on July 15 with Pakistan’s foreign minister, Agha Shahi, will lead to greater confidence and trust between the two countries. That India is attaching considerable importance to the talks is indicated by the fact that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi presided over a specially-convened meeting to finalise New Delhi’s stand. Shahi’s visit follows the visit of Foreign Secretary R D Sathe and Swaran Singh to Pakistan where the two had talks with Pakistani leaders on bilateral relations.
The All Assam Students Union (AASU) reiterated that it would continue the current agitation against the foreign nationals till an acceptable solution was reached. The AASU president, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, said if the government failed to solve the vexed problem, the people of Assam should have to make preparations to solve the problem in their own way: ‘‘Such a decision should not be undemocratic.” If the government did not listen to the voice of the people, they had the right to initiate steps for solving any burning problem, he added.
Heavy rain and floods have taken a toll of 30 lives in different parts of India during the past 24 hours. While Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar areas received torrential rain, flooded rivers in UP, Bihar and Assam continued to rise. A monsoon Nullah in Ballia district became a watery grave for 21 people who were crossing it in a country boat. In the Uttarakhand area, seven people have been killed, and three children died in Chandigarh due to a roof collapse caused by heavy rains.
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