New Delhi — speaking in the Parliament Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, ruled out talks with the Akalis so long as they do not explicitly condemn extremists and violence. ‘‘We cannot talk to those who directly or indirectly endorse violence,” he is reported to have said. Rajiv had put Punjab problem as number one priority on the agenda of his New Government immediately after his landslide victory in the eighth general elections. His declaration was widely welcomed by all those who feel concerned about human rights and peace everywhere. While knowledgeable circles ‘had expressed their doubts regarding both his sincerity and his capacity to meet the challenge. Solving Punjab problem on the principle of justice and fair play would certainly alienate the overwhelmingly fanatical Hindu majority and might seriously jeopardize congress (I) prospects in the State elections scheduled in March. Rajiv can ill afford such a risk and would, therefore, move cautiously from one bluff to another bluff.

Article extracted from this publication >> February 1, 1985