President J R Jayewardene on August 17 declared an island-wide emergency in Sri Lanka following a spate of violence, looting and arson in the last 10 days. Earlier the police reported to the President that there have been seven deaths because of violence, 196 incidents of arson, 35 incidents of looting and 15 incidents of robbery. Unofficial figures are much higher. The incidents have been reported from parts of the country with Tamils being the worst affected, a spokesperson of the Tamil United Liberation Front said. Under the emergency, the government has special powers to deal with the situation. There has been no announcement of curfew, but a government spokesperson said that the police could impose curfew in troubled areas.
K C Pant and Mohammed Shafi Quraishi, former Union ministers of state and Congress-U general secretaries, resigned from the party. Pant, a member of the Rajya Sabha, also submitted his resignation to the Congress (U) parliamentary party. He proposes to sit in the Rajya Sabha as an independent member. Neither Pant nor Quraishi have given any reason for resigning from the party. Pant’s going will reduce the number of Congress (U) members in the Rajya Sabha to 15.
The opening day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament saw thousands of workers demanding angrily that the ordinance banning strikes in essential services should be withdrawn completely.
UP cabinet expanded
The UP Council of Ministers was expanded with the introduction of one cabinet minister, Nau Nihal Singh, four ministers of state, Gulab Sehera, Ranjit Singh Judeo, Praveen Kumar Sharma and Premwati Tiwari, and one deputy minister, Om Prakash Richharia. Their portfolios have not been announced.