The Indian Express, February 18, 1980, forty years ago.
Indira Gandhi’s Government dissolved the assemblies of as many as nine states ruled by non-Congress (I) parties. The Centre has taken over their administration. The states are: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab. Orissa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The decision to cut short the life of these assemblies was taken at an urgent meeting of the Cabinet summoned by the prime minister at South Block in New Delhi. The axe fell on the non- Congress (I) governments a little before midnight when President Sanjeeva Reddy, signed nine separate proclamations under Article 356 of the Constitution.
The President of Iran, apparently taking a hard line on the release of the American hostages, said in a telecast that they might be released only after the US “undertakes its obligations” to Iran. Among the obligations, President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr said, was the “return” of the exiled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi from Panama. He had said in the past that the US would have to agree not to block Iran’s efforts to return the Shah and his wealth. In recent days he had not said the return of the Shah was a condition for the hostages’ release. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim worked on details of a five-member commission to investigate Iran’s grievances against the deposed Shah.
Seven Harijans were arrested at Mandi village in Mehrauli, Delhi, while trying to till the land allotted to them in 1974. They were held for defying prohibitory orders. Apprehending trouble, the police imposed prohibitory orders in the area and rushed 100 CRPF men and 30 police personnel to the disputed land area. Seven Harijan elders — Harichand, Sukhi Ram, Teka, Deepchand, Ramphal, Surja and Shyamlal — went to plough the fields. They were stopped about 200 yards away from the field and their bullocks and ploughs seized.