May 5, 1981, Forty Years Ago: Bihar violence


Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited riot-affected areas of Biharsharif town as reports that 17 more persons were killed in clashes on Sunday. At least 45 persons have lost their lives and over 70 have been injured in the curfew-bound Biharsharif town in the last five days of communal riots, according to official sources. Reliable reports reaching Patna indicate that the police force (assisted by the CISF and BSF companies) have so far failed to stem the violence. It is learnt that on May 2, in Biharsharif, an assistant IG of police fired six rounds to disperse clashing groups. Four persons were killed.

Boeing mystery

Home Minister Zail Singh said in the Lok Sabha on Monday that the Air India Boeing, Makalu, was scheduled to fly for 80 hours before the Prime Minister’s foreign tour. Asked to say how many journeys the aircraft would have taken before flying Mrs Gandhi, the Home Minister said he could not answer the question since “I am neither a pilot nor connected with the airline.” The matter came up through a calling attention motion. Zail Singh said CBI lawyers had not told the court in Bombay that a foreign hand was suspected in the case.

Pokhran rumours

An air of uncertainty and apprehension prevails in nine villages of the Pokhran tehsil of Jaisalmer district, Rajasthan, as the villagers fear they may soon be evacuated to make room for another nuclear explosion. An extensive 200-kilometre tour of Pokhran and surrounding areas revealed that the entire area is buzzing with talk of another nuclear device to be exploded. According to Gokul Das, deputy sarpanch of Loharki village, which is about three kms from the 1974 nuclear explosion site, official word came on March 10 for a meeting of eight villages to be held to discuss the evacuation of the nine villages.

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