The ninth round of talks between Central observers and the Assam agitationists on the foreigners’ issue was adjourned on July 14. It will resume in Guwahati in about 10 days. The 17-day deliberations have achieved nothing except to bring home to both sides the realisation that fresh ground will have to be broken and new avenues explored. The 10-day adjournment was suggested by home secretary S M H Burney who headed the officials’ team which met representatives of the All Assam Students’ Union and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad. The AASU president Prafulla Mahanta said that the government had sought time for “fresh thinking” on the issue. AAGSP president Nibaran Bora said that the gulf between the two sides had widened during the discussion.
Surat Mill Tragedy
Rescue teams are engaged in the uphill task of saving about 300 workers trapped under the debris of a four-storey mill which collapsed last week. 105 workers have been rescued and 43 bodies have been pulled out of the debris. The rescue operations picked up on July 13 with the arrival of a giant crane. Since most of the victims were bachelors from neighbouring states, the police seem to have no clue about their kith and kin.
The Soviet Friend
The Soviet Union told the Polish government that leading the country out of its present crisis was an issue for the Polish communists but “we cannot adopt an indifferent attitude when the fate of socialism in a fraternal country is at stake”. Addressing the ninth conference of the Polish Communist Party, the Soviet delegation’s leader Victor Grishin declared, “It is not according to the Soviet principles to leave our friends and allies in a crisis”. This, however, is being interpreted as a veiled threat of intervention in Poland.
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