NEW DELHI, India: A series of meetings were held between the officials of the Home Ministry, Punjab government, and representatives of Intelligence Agencies to finalize action plan to deal with Punjab situation. The plan which was earlier discussed between Rajiv Gandhi and State Governor, SS. Ray, is expected in few days. According to Hindustan Times the plan provides for improving weapons to be given to the security forces so that they can match the weapons like the Chinese Assault Rifles in the freedom fighters’ armory. In the meantime, several steps have been initiated to improve the border vigilance; the authorities have also started an exercise to issue identity cards to the people living on the border. At present several measures are being considered for three border districts like Amritsar, Ferozepur and Gurdaspur. Under the action plan, it is proposed. to form village vigilance committees and supply them with arms. In the meantime, the officials in the Home Ministry refused to comment on the speeches made at Talwandi Sabo as they feel that the situation could have been worse than what happened there. According to them, so far Bhai Jasbir Singh, Jathedar of Akali Takht, is continuing to do his delicate balancing act. The display of arms by the freedom fighters at the Golden Temple at Amritsar is described as an attempt to show off as a part of the pressure tactic.

They, however, hope that the Head Priests will continue to play a moderating role. The surrender of the Akali Dal leaders before the militants is pointed out by the sources to show the difficult situation and the circumstances in which Head Priests are operating. In the meantime, the exercise to screen the Jodhpur detainees is continuing. It is hoped that some more maybe released. It is pointed out that the government is not linking the release of Jodhpur detainees with the trouble in Punjab and it was clarified that there was no link between the two as stated by the Prime Minister in his Vaisakhi Day message.

Article extracted from this publication >> April 22, 1988