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From the archives - dated November 23, 1966

Sankaracharya of Puri arrested

Sri Sankaracharya of Puri, who was on a “fast unto death” in the capital [New Delhi] demanding a ban on cow slaughter, was arrested this morning [November 22] and has been taken by air to Madras, the Union Home Minister, Mr. Y.B. Chavan, told the Lok Sabha to-day [November 22]. Mr. Chavan said the Sankaracharya would be detained in Pondicherry under the Preventive Detention Act. Opposition members expressed their strong resentment in the Lok Sabha over the arrest of the Sankaracharya. Three members walked out in protest. Dr. M.S. Aney, who was in an excited mood, even announced that he would fast unto death as a protest against the Government’s action. On the suggestion of Mr. Hem Barua (P.S.P.) the Speaker appealed to Dr. Aney against embarking upon his fast. Mr. Mahavir Tyagi (Cong.) also approached Dr. Aney to change his mind and Dr. Aney to the satisfaction of the House said he would watch “what he (Mr. Chavan) would do in the next seven days.” Mr. Indrajit Gupta (Com.) asked whether by removing the Sankaracharya from Delhi to Pondicherry it was proper for the Government to shift tension from North India to South India. Mr. K.D. Malaviya (Cong.) made a fervent plea that a deputation of senior M.Ps. from all groups should meet the Swamiji and dissuade him from the fast. Mr. Chavan, however, did not accept or reject the suggestion. When the Home Minister said that it was the Delhi Administration which felt that the fast would create complications and therefore his arrest was necessary several members angrily asked how any one could come to this conclusion within a day of the fast.

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Lok Sabha passes Bill to abolish election tribunals

The Lok Sabha to-day [November 22, New Delhi] unanimously passed the Constitution (Nineteenth Amendment) Bill abolishing Election Tribunals. The Bill was carried by a total majority of the House as well as two-thirds of those present. Voting was 272 in favour and none against. At the outset, Mr. H.V. Kamath (P.S.P.) asked Mr. G.S. Pathak, Law Minister, to quote the rule under which he was moving that the resumed debate on the Bill be taken up. He objected to postponement of the debate by a week for the sake of Congress members. The Speaker said the motion was under Rule 184 of the Rules of Business. Mr. N.C. Chatterjee (Ind.) said that unless the Government was prepared to give an assurance that the High Court Election Benches would have the discretion to sit outside their headquarters, he and other members would oppose the Bill. This discretionary power should be vested in the Judges of the Bench in the interests of justice. Mr. Pathak said this point could be taken up when the Representation of the People Amendment Bill was considered. Earlier, several members opposed the proposal that an election bench move from place to place as this “will not be consistent with the dignity of the High Courts.”

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Lisbon harsh to Indian mother

The External Affairs Minister, Mr. M.C. Chagla, told the Rajya Sabha to-day [November 22, New Delhi] that the Government of India would consider taking the help of Britain and the U.S. to get the release of Mr. Mohan Ranade from the Portuguese jail. (Mr. Ranade was detained by the Portuguese Government during the Goa freedom struggle). The Minister told Mr. A.B. Vajpayee it was an unfortunate fact that the help given by the International Red Cross and the efforts made by friendly countries like the U.A.R. and Brazil had so far yielded no results. Even a mercy petition by Mr. Ranade’s aging mother that she would like to see her son before she lost her eyesight was of no avail. What was happening in Portugal, Mr. Chagla said, was “inhuman, disgraceful and barbaric.” Members shouted, “Shame, shame.”


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