Mass Picketing Begins
While official work and banking operations were paralysed as the five-day picketing of government offices began in Assam, thousands of people thronged the streets in Gauhati to continue their protest against the “repressive measures” taken by the government last Saturday. An official spokesman said hundreds of picketers had been arrested but there were no reports of any untoward incident from anywhere in the state. The call for picketing had been given by the All-Assam Students’ Union and the All-Assam Gana Sangram Parishad on April 18 following the failure of negotiations on the issue of foreign nationals in the state.
BJP On Assam
The national executive of the Bharatiya Janata Party demanded that the army be withdrawn forthwith from Assam and all repressive measures be revoked. The four-page political resolution adopted by the national executive at its first meeting strongly criticised the Congress (I) government’s “undemocratic” functioning and said that the “solution to the (Assam) problem should be sought by negotiation and persuasion and not by coercion or repression”. “The notorious extra-constitutional sources of power are again in evidence and their operations are even more unashamedly overt. The Prime Minister’s son addressing meetings of high police officials and extending assurances to them as if he is the government in power is only one instance,” the resolution said.
Common Market foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg have decided to take strong diplomatic and economic measures against Iran but are still unsure of the timetable for implementing them, sources said. The measures include economic sanctions against Iran if a series of lesser diplomatic moves fail to influence Iranian authorities to release American hostages at the US embassy in Tehran.
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