ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bloodless and Brief

August 5, 1967 1977. There will be a new-style Navy, stripped of its aircraft carriers, but employing several new classes of guided missile ships and a lot of helicopters, Britain, of course, will continue to honour her SEATO commitments, but the forces assigned to specific SEATO plans will be progressively altered in nature and size. Britain will also honour her obligations under the Anglo-Malayasian Defence Agreement and continue to contribute substantially to the Commonwealth strategic Reserve (which contains naval, land and air forces) and to co-operate with Commonwealth partners especially on the future of the Commonwealth Brigade to which Australia and New Zealand contribute.

Chavan s Inconclusive Mission

 It would be a mistake to leave matters in Tamizgham exclusively to the balance of forces within the State. If Indira Gandhi can exert herself to try to placate Annadurai, there is no reason why, say, Nam- boodiripad, Dange and Lohia should not make still more strenuous efforts. The DMK is, surely, at least as important as, for instance, the Maha- mayaprasad Sinha wing of the Jana Kranti Dal in Bihar. Dialogue, suggestions and patient hearing would seem to be both possible and essential. If non-Congressism is to gradually consolidate itself around a de mocratic, radical core, the DMK will be a very important ingredient in the process. Given the comparative inexperience of the DMK leadership in extra-Tamizgham affairs, the initiative should be taken by the leaderships of other non-Congress democratic parties, Rajaji's influence is, obviously, on the wane. It should be replaced by a positive integration of the vast majority of the DMK with the Left and democratic movement throughout India. The way the DMK will turn does not depend on itself alone.

Food and Politics

Food and Politics THE United Opposition Front in the State Assembly, the Samyukta Vidhayak Dal, has submitted a memorandum on food to the State Government suggesting short-term and long-term' measures to meet the scarcity of rice and bring down the prices of foodgrains. The memorandum was jointly submitted by the PSP, SSP, CPI, RCPI and Swa- tantra parties. Among the demands made in it are abolition of intra- district and inter-district restrictions on movement of foodgrains, sealing of the State boundaries to stop smuggling, raising of the procurement price from Rs 17, the rate fixed by the Food Corporation, to Rs 25 per maund, rationalisation of the price of rice, the taking over of procurement by the State Government from the F C I, fixing the rice quota at a minimum of 1,500 grams per head per week with price subsidy and distribution of rice through fair price shops and cooperatives. These short-term measures are supplemented by demands for measures for rotation of crops and flood-control and provision of pesticides and other facilities for cultivating 'every inch of fallow land'.

The Prospect in Nagaland

The Prospect in Nagaland THE NAGA UNDERGROUND held a press ' conference at Kohima on March 30, following M C Chagla's statement on the previous day that the Government of India was willing to grant all travel facilities in- eluding an Indian passport to the emissary proposed to be sent to London to meet Phizo. Talking to newsmen, the underground spokesman Z Romyo said that, "the negotiations always suffered because of press, political parties and the people" Romyo carefully explained the Nagas' position with regard to the incidents which have been described as instances of cease-fire violations. He denied the Nagas' complicity in the series of explosions that occur- ed in trains and on rail tracks. The Nagas. he added, were prepared to participate in a joint inquiry into these and other charges of sabotage involving much loss of life. He said that the Government of Assam had turned down an offer of joint inquiry last May following certain incidents. He also blamed high officials in New Delhi for resorting to dilatory tactics to delay resumption of talks since last January. The initiative for the talks now rested with the Government of India, he emphasised.

Congress Loses in the Cities

Congress Loses in the Cities OUT OF THE 126 seats in the Assam Vidhan Sabha elections were held for 124; in the remaining two seats of the Mizo Hills elections could not be held owing to the disturbed conditions there. Fourteen of the 124 seats represent the four Hills Districts of Assam. The APHLC and the Congress contested these seats on the Hills State issue. The former captured all the 9 seats from the Khasi-Jayantia and Garo Hills Districts, while the Congress captured the remaining five seats, four from the Mikir and North Cachar Hills and one (unopposed) from the Mizo Hills. The results thus indicate that the Mikir and North Cachar Hills have rejected the Hills State demand sponsored by the APHLC. The opinion in the Mizo Hills is not clear as elections could not be held there. However, the defeat of Emon Singh Sangma, a member of the Assam Cabinet, indicates the strong feeling of the Garos in favour of a Hill State. The Shillong seat was also captured by the APHLC against a non-tribal candidate who campaigned on the issue of safe-guarding the interests of the non-tribals in the proposed Hills State. The verdict of the electorate may have some impact on the plan for reorganisation of Assam to form a separate Hills State.
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