The Indian Express front page, December 13, 1979.
Centre rules Assam
Assam, which has been in the grip of continuous agitation for a few weeks, was placed under Central rule. The presidential proclamation to this effect was issued after an emergency meeting of the Union Cabinet. The state assembly has been kept in suspended animation. Fresh efforts will be made after some time to form another ministry. The Central intervention came in response to Governor L P Singh’s recommendation. In his report, the governor had sought imposition of President’s rule for a brief period following the breakdown of constitutional machinery and the deteriorating law and order situation. The governor had recalled the political developments in the state leading to the withdrawal of support to the Hazarika ministry by the Congress, Janata and CPI. The ministry was thus reduced to a minority. The Union Cabinet met for half an hour to consider the governor’s report in particular and the latest political and law and order situation in the state. The Cabinet endorsed the governor’s plea for Central rule and recommended the same to the President.
President N Sanjeeva Reddy has said that the problem of foreigners in Assam is a national issue as has been adequately made out by the people of the state. Reddy is understood to have told this to B K Basumatari, Plains Tribals Council of Assam acting general secretary, when he called on him. He is understood to have told Basumatari that foreigners, if any, would be identified and driven out. But the need of the hour was a government in Assam.
The Union government is “not averse” to Naga leader A Z Phizo returning to India if it helps find a permanent political solution to the Naga problem, according the Z Ramyo, one of the signatories to the Shillong agreement. Ramyo, along with a five-member delegation, had separate meetings with Prime Minister Charan Singh, and Deputy PM Y B Chavan to explore the possibilities of reopening the peace efforts which had been bogged down after the former PM Morarji Desai’s meeting with Phizo in London in 1977.