NEW DELHI, INDIA
Tripartite talks, held to discuss demands for greater autonomy for the Sikh state of Punjab, collapsed on January 26 when the Sikh leaders involved in the discussions announced they were resigning from the state and national legislatures.
NEW DELHI, INDIA
1. GV TRACKING Opposition leaders seated at conference table 0.13
2. SCU Government ministers, including minister for Home Affairs Prakash Sethi, seated at table (3 shots) 0.24
3. SV s & SCUs Sikh delegation, including Balwant Singh, Surjit Singh Barnala and Arminder Singh, at table (5 shots) 0.51
4. SVs & SCUs Government ministers involved in talks (5 shots) 1.25
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Background: NEW DELHI, INDIA
Tripartite talks, held to discuss demands for greater autonomy for the Sikh state of Punjab, collapsed on January 26 when the Sikh leaders involved in the discussions announced they were resigning from the state and national legislatures. Their decision came within hours of four bombs exploding in the holy Sikh city of Amritsar. The meeting were first proposed by the national opposition parties in a bid to resolve demands for religious and political concessions in the region where most of India's 12 million Sikhs live. This was the first time the Indian government had agreed to include the opposition parties in the autonomy talks but the government leader at the conference, Prakash Sethi, made it clear from the start he expected negotiations to be fraught with problems. The sikh delegation was led by Balwant Singh, Surjit Singh Barnala and Arminder Singh. Despite the government's wish to placate the Sikh community, observers agree that to concede greater powers to the Punjab would encourage regionalism in other states, some of which have already raised autonomy demands. The Sikh political party, Akali Dal, said all their party representatives would submit their resignations immediately, but would post-date them until February 21 to give the government time to meet their demands. When the conference broke up, agreement had been reached on a review of the distribution of the water from the Punjab River, vital for the state's agricultural needs, but discussion on greater autonomy and a redrawing of the state boundaries, was postponed until later in the year.
Source: REUTERS - PREM PRAKASH