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Friday, July 20, 2018

Forty Years Ago, March 31, 1978: Riots in Moradabad

Thirteen persons were killed and 21 injured, four of them seriously, in the rioting in Sambhal town in Moradabad district. UP Chief Minister Ram Naresh Yadav told the assembly this afternoon that the situation was now under control. The town was under curfew.

By: Editorial | Updated: March 31, 2018 12:15:11 am
The front page of The Indian Express on March 31, 1978

Thirteen persons were killed and 21 injured, four of them seriously, in the rioting in Sambhal town in Moradabad district. UP Chief Minister Ram Naresh Yadav told the assembly this afternoon that the situation was now under control. The town was under curfew. The CM said the police had to resort to a firing at three places to disperse the mobs but nobody was killed in the police firing, he added. Out of 13 dead, nine were killed and burnt when the rioters attacked a khandsari (cottage sugar) unit and set it ablaze.

Mrs Gandhi guilty

Justice J C Shah in his first report has held Indira Gandhi personally guilty of “misuse of authority” in ordering the detention of the late Bhim Sen Sachar and seven other Sarvodaya workers. The report concludes that on the basis of all available material in this case, it was Mrs Gandhi who directed the Delhi administration authorities to put all eight of them in jail under MISA. Mrs Gandhi’s private secretary, R K Dhawan, conveyed her instructions to the then Lt Governor, Kishan Chand. It may be recalled that Dhawan in his testimony before the commission had claimed to be “only a messenger of the prime minister”. Sachar and others were arrested within a few hours of their writing “an open letter” to Mrs Gandhi and several other VIPs including Mrs Gandhi’s cabinet colleagues, MPs, and journalists, giving notice of their intention to stage satyagraha on August 9, 1975. The letter was personally delivered by one of the Sarvodaya workers.

New detention law

A new law permitting preventive detention of foreign nationals is on the anvil. Charan Singh, Union home minister, announced in the Lok Sabha that MISA will be repealed after the proposed legislation is ready, because there were some foreign nationals under preventive detention in Indian jails held on “non-political” grounds.

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