May 23, 1979, Forty Years Ago: Police protest

May 23, 1979, Forty Years Ago: Police protest

As the policemen’s agitation spread like wildfire in Madhya Pradesh, sources close to the agitators told Express News Service that they may resort to “direct action “ by the beginning of next month if their demands for better working conditions and pay-scales were not conceded by then. The policemen were reportedly continuing their secret discussions all over the state. Messengers are going to different places to spread the word and to coordinate the voices of discontent. Leaders are emerging from within the policemen and by the end of this month, they hope to have elected associations at most of the district headquarters. Bhopal and Indore policemen would reportedly elect their leaders respectively on May 26 and 28.

CPI infiltration

Following confessions by a few policemen in Punjab that they were CPI card holders, the Centre is trying to assess the extent of communist “infiltration” into the police force throughout the country. The fact that the state intelligence departments — as recently happened in Punjab — has worried Delhi the most. The politicisation of police forces is a cause for concern. The impression has grown that political parties in power in different states have over the past few years have “recruited” their own men in the police force. Perhaps some of these political parties nourish the hope of “trouble from within” at an appropriate time.

Price rise

The problem of spiralling prices proved rather intractable for the Union cabinet which debated the issue for 90 minutes on May 22. At the end of the meeting,which discussed two papers by the Union Finance Ministry and the Planning Commission, no decision was forthcoming. The Planning Commission was asked to work out a rational price structure for kerosene, high-speed diesel oil and petrol, as the in increase in the prices of these commodities was considered to have contributed significantly to price rise in general.