CHANDIGARH: The Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi declared at Goindwal on Wednesday September 21, 1988, that the political process will be revived to solve the ticklish Punjab problem. He was speaking to the gathering after foundation laying ceremony of a paper mill at this historic religious place of Sikhs. He also announced to hold the elections to the village Panchayats and Panchayat Samitis. He hinted to give more administrative powers to these institutions to strengthen the democratic process at the village and the block level.

Earlier the Indian Government helped smooth the way for Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s first visit to Punjab in three years by ordering nearly 140 Sikh Militants freed from Jodhpur jail who were under detention since June, 1984, and were arrested from the Golden Temple for waging war against the state. About 200 militants are still in Jodhpur jail.

The Indian Prime Minister also addressed gatherings at Jalandhar and Jaito on the same day.

Our political correspondent from Chandigarh adds that inspite of the all-out efforts of the State Government; the gathering was not impressive at all at the three places. ‘The unprecedented security arrangments also came in the way of poor attendance of the people. Against the wishful thinking of some politicians the Prime Minister did not touch the issue of holding of early elections to the state assembly. He made no specific proposal to solve the Punjab problem. However, the political Pundits are making their ‘own assessments. Some feel that he Rajiv Gandhi will soon convene an all parties meeting to involve all other political leaders to solve this issue, some persons. Do not attach any importance to such like vague announcements.

Article extracted from this publication >> September 23, 1988