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(dated November 8, 1966)

Anti-cow slaughter mob storms Parliament

Curfew was imposed on the Union territory of Delhi to-day [Nov. 7] after anti-cow slaughter demonstrators numbering many thousands stormed Parliament House and indulged in unprecedented acts of violence, burning parked cars and setting fire to Central Government buildings. Police guarding Parliament House opened fire on the yelling mob. According to official sources, seven persons were killed and over 100 injured in the violent incidents. Mr. G.L. Nanda, Home Minister, reported to the Lok Sabha on the incidents.

The Police were forced to open fire as lathi charges and firing of tear-gas shells did not have any effect on the swelling mob. The curfew is being withdrawn from 7 a.m. tomorrow following improvement in situation in the capital. Thousands of rupees worth of damage to buildings and vehicles, both private and public, was caused by the mob which, in a violent and vociferous way, was demonstrating for the imposition of a ban on cow slaughter by Government. The parties who organised the demonstration, the number of participants in which was estimated between 3 lakhs and 7 lakhs, were the Jan Sangh, the Hindu Mahasabha, the Arya Samaj and the Sanatan Dharma Sabha. The focal point of the demonstration was the end of Parliament Street before Parliament House where a running skirmish took place between the demonstrators who slugged brickbats and other missiles and a large force of police including the steel-helmeted and mounted men and also police women. Police had to open fire as lathicharge and tear-gassing failed to disperse the five lakh-strong unruly demonstrators in front of Parliament House. Mounted police were pressed into action to disperse the demonstrators in Parliament Street. The trouble started when a section of sadhus tried to force their entry into the Parliament House. The police fired tear gas shells at them and at the dais, from where leading sadhus and leaders were making speeches. Lathi charge and firing followed.

Lok Sabha votes down no-confidence motion

The Lok Sabha to-day [Nov. 7, New Delhi] rejected the Opposition motion of no-confidence against the Government by 265 votes to 36.

The Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, declared, amidst thunderous cheers, that the Government was determined to maintain law and order, “whatever the price to be paid”. The agitation in the country was not against the Government, but against democracy, the very basis of Indian tradition and the Indian way of living. In a hushed silence and weighed down by the police firing outside Parliament House on aggressive demonstrators demanding a ban on cow slaughter, the Lok Sabha listened with appreciation to the solemn, serious and spirited reply of the Prime Minister to the four-day debate.

The Prime Minister, ending her self-imposed restraint in the face of the growing disorder in the country, spoke in blunt terms hitting out against the critics and explained the Government’s position forcibly and lucidly. How could a Government tolerate the destruction of public and private properties by misguided people, the Prime Minister asked. The Opposition was exploiting the difficulties of the people, making them incapable of even working for a living. She charged the Opposition with designs to cut at the very roots of democracy. India could not afford to fail. For, India’s stability was vital not only for itself but for Asia as well. The Prime Minister further said that destruction of property and making normal life impossible for others was not the way to ventilate grievances.

Bill to ban trade unionism by police

In the face of strong objections from all the Opposition parties, the Home Minister, Mr. G.L. Nanda, to-day [Nov. 7] introduced in the Rajya Sabha a Bill to restrict certain rights conferred by the Constitution to the members of the police force so as to ensure proper discharge of their duties and maintenance of discipline among them. The leave to introduce the Bill, which normally does not provoke any discussion, was given in this case only after heated exchanges, in the course of which one Opposition member, Mr. Arun Chatterji (Left Communist), characterised the motive of the Government in bringing forward this measure as malicious. Mr. Nanda retorted angrily to this description and said that only those who opposed it had malicious intent. The Opposition members said that the measure was intended only to suppress the agitation of Delhi Policemen to get their grievances redressed. They said that policemen had been getting only a pittance and should be given the same right as other citizens to form associations to ventilate their grievances. Mr. Nanda, however, explained that the intention of the Bill was not to restrict but only to regulate the exercise of rights by policemen. He said that there was no intention to deprive the police force of their right to associate for their welfare and to ventilate their grievances. The Bill did not rule out any kind of arrangement for that purpose but only provides for certain methods of recognition. The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill says, “It is felt that in order to ensure the proper discharge of their duties and the maintenance of discipline among them, the members of the forces charged with the maintenance of public order should not without the express sanction of the Central Government, form any trade union, labour union or any political association or communicate with the Press or publish or cause to be published anything except where such communication or publication is in the bona fide discharge of their duties or is of a purely literary, artistic or scientific character.

It is also felt that no member of a police force should participate in or address any meeting or take part in any demonstration organised by any body of persons for political purposes.”

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