January 31, 1982, forty years ago: peace with Pak
The prime minister has offered to sign a peace and friendship treaty with Pakistan. Surprisingly, Ms Gandhi made her offer at the end of her hour-long meeting with Pakistani journalists and not during the formal Indo-Pakistani talks which began on January 30. While Indian officials attached considerable importance to Mrs. Gandhi’s remarks, the Pakistani delegation did not seem unimpressed. Pakistani journalists, who heard from Ms Gandhi, said her offer was too flippant and in response to a reporter’s question about the Indo-Soviet friendship treaty. It is possible that Prime Minister Gandhi offered to see how the Pakistani side would react to it. It may have been an attempt to recover lost ground after initial opposition to talks over Pakistan’s proposal for a non-war pact.
The CPM line
At the end of the 11th Party Congress, the pro-Moscow vision of the central leadership of the CPM succeeded in overturning the pro-Chinese line which had been adopted after the 1964 split with the CPI. The Vijayawada Congress passed a political resolution taking a firm pro-Soviet and anti-Chinese stance. Even until the 10th Congress in Jullundur in 1978, the CPM had criticized and praised China and the Soviet Union in equal measure.
Billa, Ranga to hang
Just 18 hours before his execution, convict Billa admitted to murdering seven people in Bombay but remained evasive about his role in the murders of Sanjay and Gita Chopra. “It is better that I die. What is the point of living in a society that doesn’t trust you,” he said. Meanwhile, Ranga “admitted” his innocence and expressed regret that he could not get justice.
Former Chogyal of Sikkim, Paiden Thondup Namgyal died of cancer. He was 59 years old.