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Sunday, May 31, 2020

April 20, 1980, Forty Years Ago: Assam Tense

This is the front page of The Indian Express published on April 20, 1980.

By: Editorial | Published: April 20, 2020 1:33:24 am
This is the front page of The Indian Express published on April 20, 1980.

The long-drawn agitation over the foreign nationals issue came to a head when the government took a number of stern measures and the agitators set them at defiance. The state capital was placed under curfew and leaders of agitators were arrested under a preventive detention ordinance. Also, about 500 picketers were arrested at the Oil India pipeline headquarters. Faced with open defiance from the agitators, the government lifted the curfew and withdrew troops from the Oil India pipeline headquarters. The All Assam Students Union and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad, spearheading the seven-month-old agitation, gave a call for civil disobedience.

Citizenship Deadline

The agitating organisations in Assam set May 10 as the date by which the foreign nationals issue must be solved. According to a joint decision of the All Assam Students Union and All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad, an ultimatum will be given on April 22 to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that “an acceptable and constitutional” solution be found before May 10. The convenor of the parishad, Jatin Goswami, said both the organisations had decided to picket all the central, state and quasi-government offices throughout the state from April 23 to 26.

Return To Janata

The Janata Party chief, Chandra Shekhar, has given a clarion call to all those who have left the party to return to the organisation in defence of democracy which is once again in peril. Inaugurating the second national convention of the party at Jayaprakash Nagar in north Bombay, he specifically appealed to the youth to effectively meet the challenge of the authoritarian forces represented by Indira Gandhi. Without mincing words, Chandra Shekhar exhorted his partymen, particularly the leaders, to give up
internecine quarrels as trying days are ahead and unity was the need of the hour to dispel the looming clouds of dictatorship.

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