September 6, 1981, Forty Years Ago: PM Flags Crisis

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has warned that the country is in a difficult phase economically, politically and militarily and these challenges call for a greater sense of national purpose. The prime minister mentioned this at a meeting of the secretaries to the government and added that the challenge was not just for those in politics but also for those in government as well. Speaking of a “crisis, which is an Indian crisis and an international crisis,” Indira Gandhi said that there was a major attempt to denigrate India at international fora. “It is only when we stand firm that respect for us increases It is wrong to think that when we give in, there will be goodwill for us,” she said. Assuring bureaucrats and civil servants, she said that she did not think all civil servants are bureaucratic.

Teachers’ Protest

Protests and boycott of functions marked Teacher’s Day in Delhi. A number of teachers’ organisations held demonstrations in their areas to protest the neglect of teachers. The call for protest was given by the newly-formed Federation of Educational Associations. The Delhi Administration had to postpone a function to give awards to teachers. Members of the Delhi Primary Teachers’ Association wore black arm bands and observed a fast during the day.

Police Versus Akalis

The Punjab police has completely sealed road and rail links with Haryana to prevent the Akali Dal (L) volunteers from heading to Delhi to participate in a dharna on September 7. On the face of it, the Punab Police’s strategy appears to be to stop trains at the isolated Shambhu railway station and pack off the Akali volunteers. Fire brigades have been posted at all major points on the route in question. Though not a single truck crossed from Shambhu on September 5, the police concede that volunteers would surely move by trucks to reach the protest. This could well be because the Punjab Truck Union is widely considered to be favourable to the Akali Dal.

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