The Janata Party plunged from the crisis over the Jana Sangh faction’s demand for disciplinary action against its parliamentary party leader, into a fresh one. Jagjivan Ram is now insisting on solving the dual membership issue and the Jana Sangh faction is “determined” to have the “RSS bogey buried once and for all”. Hectic “peace efforts” since the dramatic boycott of the meeting of the national executive by the Jana Sangh faction failed to produce any solution.
Fourteen Harijans, including four women and six children were brutally killed in Pipra village in Bihar in an apparently pre-planned shooting-cum-arson assault launched by unidentified miscreants. Thirteen died on the spot and one of the four injured succumbed to injuries later. The attack was carried out by an armed mob of about 200.
The Union minister for works and housing, P C Sethi, hinted that the Urban Land Ceiling Act could be scrapped or at least drastically amended. Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Sethi said there were several lacunae in the Act. It had given rise to corruption, had pushed up land prices and brought private building activity to a standstill. “We will consider whether it has to be completely scrapped, or only the loopholes have to be plugged,” he declared.
President Jimmy Carter offered to support a neutral Afghanistan if the Soviet Union withdraws promptly from the country. Carter’s comments, in response to a letter from the Yugoslav President Josip Tito, followed an apparent offer by the Soviet Union to witharaw “as soon as all forms of outside interference directed against the government and people of Afghanistan are fully terminated.”
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