In a show of strength, landless peasants in thousands today gathered at Ladhpur-Khanjhawla to remind the government of their centuries-old exploitation by landlords. The response of the peasants to the call by the Bhumiheen Sangharsh Samiti for the rally was spontaneous with large contingents coming from all the northern states as well as from different parts of the city. Speakers of the Uttari Bharat Bhumiheen Sammelan emphasised the need for unity of peasants. They and the landless, who worked the most and helped the landlord reap the harvest, were the most exploited. They said there were about 19,000 bonded labourers even now with Jaunsar Bawar, in Dehradun alone.
The former Portugese enclaves of Daman and Diu are likely to be merged with Gujarat, according to an excercise now being conducted by the Union ministry of home affairs. The exercise also entails that the outlying regions of the union territory of Pondicherry be merged with the nearby states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. According to this scheme, the former French enclaves of Mahe, Karaikal and Yanam are to be merged with the adjoining states. It is not clear what timeframe officials conducting the excercise have in mind. The Centre apparently feels that the merger of outlying enclaves with states closest to them would lead to administrative tidiness.
Violence in Jammu
Bhim Singh, Congress MLA, and over 200 youth and students in various parts of the Jammu region were arrested in an early morning swoop today as a measure to “improve” the law and order situation in the city and other towns of the region. Students and youth soon took out processions and fought pitched battles with the police at City Chowk, the Dak Bangalow area and Gas Mandi. The police resorted to lathicharges and fired several rounds of teargas shells to disperse them.