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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Forty Years Ago, February 3, 1980: Assam foreigners

The Prime Minister told an eight-member delegation of the All Assam Students’ Union that while the question of foreign nationals would be looked into carefully, it was important to see that genuine Indian nationals were not harassed.

By: Editorial | Published: February 3, 2020 2:00:50 am
AASU 1980 Indira Gandhi,  Sanjay Gandhi Banarasi Das, Forced Sterilisation Sanjay Gandhi Emergency, Indian Express news The Indian Express front page, February 03, 1980. (Express archive)

The Prime Minister told an eight-member delegation of the All Assam Students’ Union that while the question of foreign nationals would be looked into carefully, it was important to see that genuine Indian nationals were not harassed. She had an 80-minute meeting with the students who gave her a memorandum. Mrs Gandhi told the students that nobody was in favour of permitting foreigners to pose as Indians. But, it was also unfair to harass genuine Indian citizens on this score.

Rein in Sanjay Gandhi

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Banarasi Das, said in Delhi that “the Centre and Sanjay Gandhi were interfering and making inroads into state autonomy.” Addressing a news conference, Das said, “Ever since Mrs Gandhi has taken over as prime minister, Sanjay Gandhi has become the extra-constitutional authority creating law and order situation in the states”. The chief minister released a copy of his letter to the prime minister protesting against Sanjay Gandhi’s remarks at his news conference in Lucknow on Friday regarding Narainpur (Deoria) incidents. He urged Mrs Gandhi “to counsel Sanjay Gandhi about the need for restraint in affairs of public importance and not cast aspersions which may disturb the fabric of our judicial system”.

No sterilisation

The Madhya Pradesh government has denied launching a massive programme of demolition of houses and forced sterilisation. “Not a single demolition has taken place in the state,” the chief minister, Sunderlal Patwa, said. The state government was carrying out the normal family welfare programme and there was no unusual spurt in sterilisation, he added. Patwa also denied that the state government or the Janata Party had launched misleading propaganda regarding a non-existent central directive to undertake sterilisation programmes. There was neither any directive from the Centre nor was there any propaganda to this effect, he told newsmen.

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