Without mentioning Afghanistan, India made it clear to the visiting USSR President L Brezhnev that it remains opposed to any form of intervention, overt or covert, by any power in the internal affairs of the region. Speaking at the bouquet hosted in honour of the visiting dignitary, President N Sanjiva Reddy expressed concern at the growing tensions and conflicts around India and expressed the hope that these would be ended without delay in the spirit of Panchsheel. Reddy pleaded for a durable peace through negotiated political resolution, “ensuring the independence, territorial sovereignty and non-aligned status of the countries in the region”. Brezhnev, who had a 50-minute meeting with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a few hours earlier made no reference to Afghanistan but said that the Soviet Union was always ready to discuss “in a spirit of realism” the legitimate rights of other nations.
The slogan shouting farmers reached Jamner in Maharashtra to a rousing reception from villagers. The march was sponsored by the six-party left and democratic front to focus attention on its demand for higher prices for agricultural produce. Boys and girls lined the road strewing flowers as the marchers led by former chief minister Sharad Pawar, wended their way through the welcome arches in this town, a Congress U stronghold.
Billa Ranga Sentenced
The Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence for Billa and Ranga, convicted for the murder of two teenagers, Sanjay and Gita Chopra, in Delhi two years ago. Chief Justice Y V Chandrachud remarked that “both were professional killers and had made a business of rape and murder”.
Iran and Iraq hammered each other’s oil nerve centres as a warning was issued in Tehran of a possible coup against Ayatollah Khomenei’s Islamic Revolutionary regime. Majlis member Ali Agha Mohammad called people, army and lawmakers to close ranks in a message broadcast on Tehran radio.
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