Forty Years Ago, July 4, 1980: Northeast cut off
The Northeastern states face total isolation for three days when the sponsors of the three-month-long Assam bandh begin from tomorrow their policy of blocking trains to the state. Despite Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s broad-spectrum offer to resume discussions to end the deadlock, the agitationists were going ahead with their announced plan to sever air and rail links. The Assam government has not yet announced any plan to scuttle the agitation. The Chief Secretary Ramesh Chandra said that police protection will be given to those wanting to avail the air services not cancelled by the Indian Airlines.
ESMA in Assam
Opposition members in the Lok Sabha described the Essential Services Maintenance (Assam) Bill as the first step to fascism and the return of authoritarian rule in the country. The Bill seeks to replace an ordinance giving the executive wide powers to ban strikes in essential services in Assam.
While the first Opposition unity bid ended with the Lok Dal walking out, three apparently contradictory moves to bring together different streams of the Congress are afoot. A section of influential leaders in West Bengal, Maharashtra and UP are trying to return to the Congress (I). Another important section, including the party president Devraj Urs, is contacting former Congress colleagues in the Lok Dal, Janata and other parties in a bid to secure their return to the Congress (U). H N Bhaguna and his supporters have contacted old Congressmen to sell the old idea of a Congress minus Congress(I).
The junior doctors’ federation of Delhi gave a call for a strike from July 5 in all major hospitals of the city. A spokesman said that the call was given after the authorities had not responded to their ultimatum of 15 days to solve the junior doctors’ problems.