July 7, 1981, forty years ago: TN conversions

Interior Minister Giani Zail Singh assured members of the parliamentary advisory committee attached to his ministry that the government would investigate the large-scale conversion of Hindus to Islam in a village in Tamil Nadu. The committee members are Niren Ghosh (CPM), Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Janata Party) and Madhu Dandavate (Janata). The panel alleged that a huge amount of money was spent to achieve these conversions. They also raised complaints that foreign money was involved in the conversions. The interior minister said the constitution gives every citizen the right to profess, practice and propagate their religion. But to engage in forced conversions would be an abuse of this right.

Sailo’s complaint

Mizoram Chief Minister Brigadier T Sailo protested to the Prime Minister that while talking about peace with Laldenga in Delhi, the government is allowing its supporters of the Mizo National Front to run free to terrorize the people of the state . Armed men, he alleged, hunt down government officials and force them to pay part of their salaries. “A lot of government officials had to pay out of fear,” he said. He said armed MNF members were extorting money on the Silchar-Aizawl highway.

Racial violence in the UK

As Liverpool counted the cost of two successive nights of street violence, the Skinheads who rioted in Southall last week warned of a ‘harsh summer’ of racial violence in Britain. Interviewed on London radio, the Skinheads threatened another riot this week. They blamed the colored people for the trouble. But some listeners who came on the phone to the show’s service described the Skinheads as “a bunch of disgusting illiterate thugs” and alleged that they had proven the Asians by making offensive remarks against them.