Forty Years Ago, February 18, 1981: Lok Sabha Violence

The Lok Sabha was adjourned in a state of shock this afternoon following an unprecedented clash in which Congress-I and Lok Dal members freely exchanged blows. Senior members watched in silence as a stunned Speaker hastily announced the adjournment and walked out of the House as if he were protesting against the unseemly scuffles. The dignity of Parliament was not the only casualty. One Lok Dal member, Jagpal Singh, had some skin clawed off his cheek in the melee, while Sankar Shastri (also Lok Dal) later complained that he had been punched in the chest by a former minister from the treasury benches, H K L Bhagat.

No Judges Quota

Union Law Minister Shiv Shankar told th e Lok Sabha that there was no proposal to reserve seats for Scheduled Castes and backward classes on high court and Supreme Court benches. Replying to a question by D P Yadav, the minister admitted that he had written to states that persons from SC /ST and backward classes be given weightage while choosing judges. But beyond this, nothing more could be done.

Farmers Stranded

Thousands of kisans who came for the kisan rally have been stranded in Delhi because of the inordinate delay in running of special trains which were to take them home. Tilak Bridge, Safdarjung, Delhi Main and Nizamuddin stations were crowded with tired and confused farmers clutching their beddings, waiting for a train. The majority of the farmers were from distant states like West Bengal, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

AASU For Talks

The All Assam Students Union announced its readiness to resume talks with the Centre without any pre-condition for a negotiated settlement of the foreign nationals issue. The AASU would “respond positively” if a formal invitation for such talks was received by the Centre, president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta told journalists after a session of the AASU executive.

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