Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said the threat to the country’s freedom was not only across the northern borders but also from the deep seas. She called upon people to be united and vigilant to face any challenge ahead. Addressing a public meeting in Visakhapatnam, she said, “We must become strong and in order to achieve it all the causes of weakness and those causing internal strife should be removed”. Referring to the “hue and cry” raised by certain outside elements that a poverty-stricken country like India never needed a steel industry, she said only on account of these industries, including defence production, the country could push back the aggressors. No country, whether small or large, could survive without self-reliance to some extent. She said there was no right without duty and no privilege without a corresponding obligation. She asked women to work for the wiping out of superstitions and casteism that had weakened the country.
Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah asked people to remain constantly vigilant as India was passing through critical times. He said there was turmoil on the eastern front and the region had become a hotbed of foreign intrigue and vested interests wanting to destroy the peace in the subcontinent. On the western front were countries not “necessarily” friendly, the Sheikh said, addressing a meeting of Kashmiris at Kashmir Bhavan in New Delhi.
Hope In Chasnala
Union Steel and Mines Minister Chandrajit Yadav said several mining engineers he met at the Chasnala mine disaster site did not rule out the possibility of “some survivors’’. The structure of the Chasnala mine was such that it might be possible for some of the trapped miners to locate air pockets. At least 372 miners were suspected to be in the mine when water rushed in from an abandoned mine nearby on December 27.