Five persons were killed and about 14 injured in violent incidents that marked the one-day band called by the Tamilaga Vivasiyagal Sangham led by C Narayanswami Naidu. More than 1,000 people have been arrested taking the total number of arrests since the agitation began to 8,000. The association of farmers had given the bandh call in the culmination of an eight-day protest to stop the supply of essentials in urban areas. Their protest is against the discontinuation of power supply to pumpsets for non-payment of dues. The agitation has affected the rural areas in all districts of the state barring the Nilgiris, Puddokaotai, Thanjavur and Kanyakumari. Cases of picketing buses were also reported from multiple districts.
Pakistan’s ambassador to India, Abdus Sattar, has said that India and Pakistan are likely to exchange more than 20 spies. He said there were about 500 Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails. These include spies, smugglers and thieves. The matter of spies, he said, was a very sensitive one and requires negotiations between the secret agencies of both countries. The exchange will be decided if the offer is agreeable to both countries.
The Heng Semrin regime of Kampuchea has sent two senior diplomats to Delhi to open the country’s mission in India. The mission will formally start functioning after the Charge-D’ Affaires designate Thiem Chuny presents his credentials. An ambassador is likely to take over next month. India will send a Charge-D’ Affaires to Pnom Penh next month.
US hostage crisis
In a bid to end the US hostage crisis in Iran, Algerian mediators have been authorised to offer Tehran a five to six billion dollars escrow amount with Algeria immediately taking control of the hostages. US President Jimmy Carter is reportedly keen to end the crisis before his term ends of January 27.
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