January 12, 1979, Forty Years Ago
Several companies of the Central Reserve Police are reported to have been deployed along the troubled Assam-Nagaland border to prevent clashes between the Nagas and Assamese. This follows last week’s incidents in which as many as 50 people were killed in the Sibasagar area of Assam. The two state governments have already sent their forces to prevent recurrence of violence in the disputed area. The Centre has taken serious note of the incidents, and the prime minister has already written to the chief ministers of the two states suggesting immediate steps to prevent any recurrence of violence.
Cambodia’s deputy premier, leng Sary, whisked out of his country by a Thai helicopter, flew out of Thailand today as intelligence sources reported that Vietnamese tanks were moving along a major highway less than 50 km from the Thai frontier. The deputy premier’s swift evacuation included a 200-kilometre helicopter hop from the border to Bangkok’s international airport, a closely-guarded military bus ride across the tarmac and a flight to Hong Kong aboard a regularly scheduled Thai International flight. Western sources said Sary, branded by many as partly responsible for a bloodbath in Cambodia, would be going to Peking, possibly to speak out for what appears a lost cause.
The Iranian Prime Minister, Shahpour Bakhtiar, moving swiftly to meet the demands of the anti-Shah opposition, today outlined sweeping domestic and foreign policy reforms to the Parliament. The 268-member Majlis, or Lower House of Parliament, burst into applause as Bakhtiar reaffirmed that he would dissolve the feared SAVAK secret police, and announced that 68 political prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment earlier had been freed during the day.