On the eve of the 36-hour bandh in Assam as part of the revival of the agitation against foreigners, the Centre issued an order banning strikes in essential services like railways postal departments and services connected with the operation and maintenance of aerodromes in the state. The Centre invoked the sweeping powers given to it by the Essential Services Maintenance Act after a meeting of the Union Cabinet. The blanket order covers production, supply and distribution of coal, power, steel, fertilisers, petroleum and petroleum products and all defence installations, transport, banking and air and hospital services. Employees in Central undertakings, engaged in purchase, procurement, storage, supply or distribution of foodgrains have also been bought under the purview of the order.
Strikes in some sections of the private sector industry have also been banned.
Talks On Punjab
Members of Parliament belonging to various Opposition parties have expressed dissatisfaction over the way the government has handled the Khalistan issue and urged firm handling of the situation. The Home Minister Giani Zail Singh assured them that both the Central and state governments were seized of the issue. He told the members that the Akalis had dropped the demand for Khalistan. He agreed with the members that it was a serious matter and that there had been lapses.
US President Ronald Reagan said he had sent a letter to the Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev proposing the elimination of intermediate range nuclear missiles from Europe and a reduction of conventional forces. He, however, warned that the US will not reduce arms unilaterally.