In India, last week's violent clashes in Assam between local students and immigrants have now died down.
GV: Vigyan Bhavan building with demonstrators carrying placards outside. (3 shots)
CU INTERIOR: Mrs Gandhi takes her seat
CU: Muslim League leader Mr Ibrahim Suleman Saith seated
CU: Mr Bhupesh Gupta (Communist Party of India) on left beside Mr Samar Mukerjee (Communist Party Marxist)
CU: Mr Tridib Choudhari (Revolutionary Socialist Party) leader seated
CU: Minister of External Affairs Mr Narsimha Rao seated
CU: Congress-U leader Mr Y.B. Chavan seated
GV: Meeting in progress
SV: Police in street
SV INTERIOR: Opposition leader Mr Vajpayee seated at news conference
CU: Mr Vajpayee speaking in English (2 shots)
VAJPAYEE: "The recent developments have further complicated the already complex Assam situation. In spite of the denials issued by the authorities doubts still persist in the public mind, that this whole counter-agitation business has been engineered, instigated and financed by the Congress. There can be no solution to the Assam problem without involving the leaders of Assam, and that includes the students leaders also who are under detention."
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Background: In India, last week's violent clashes in Assam between local students and immigrants have now died down. On Sunday (1 June), the weeks death toll was put at 39. It was nine months ago that students launched a movement demanding the eviction of foreigners, mostly Bangladeshis and Nepalese who had entered the state illegally, since 1951. Although the open fighting has ended, tension throughout the state remains.
SYNOPSIS: An appeal for restraint and calm was made on Saturday (31 May) when Mrs Gandhi met some of the opposition leaders in New Delhi to discuss the situation. Outside the meeting, demonstrators called for an end to the Assam movement. It was a threat to national unity, they claimed.
Mrs Gandhi had made it clear that her government could not tolerate harassment of any group living in the state. Muslim League members joined the talks ads did the leaders of India's two Communist parties. Three of the other leading opposition parties however, boycotted the meeting. They said was no point in attending, because Mrs. Gandhi had already accused them of following a policy of non-cooperation on the Assam problem. After the meeting a joint statement was issued which said that the problem of foreigners could only be reached through "a negotiated settlement".
The meeting also agreed on a joint appeal to the leaders of the Assam movement to end their agitation, to create an atmosphere conducive to negotiations. While the meeting was in progress, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, leader of the Bharatiya Janata, explained why his party had boycotted the meeting.