INTRODUCTION: The Indian government of Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi is watching closely the outcome of demonstrations by farmers and young people.
GV PAN Farmers seated at rally listening to speaker. (2 SHOTS)
SV Youth wing of Lok Dal Party marching through streets with banners. (4 SHOTS)
GV PAN Police cordon awaiting arrival of demonstrators.
GV Members of Dalit Panthers Caste marching through streets with banners.
SV Marchers wearing black mouth-masks and flanked by police carrying batons through streets. (4 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The Indian government of Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi is watching closely the outcome of demonstrations by farmers and young people. There's been an upsurge in agitation over prices received for farm produce and problems arising from government policies on assistance for lower castes. Both issues have already led to some violence, in which lives have been lost.
SYNOPSIS: Farmers have been pressing for higher crop prices for some time, and this protest rally in New Delhi was the latest in a series. It was addressed by former Prime Minister Charan Singh, and although relatively quiet, it carried an underlying atmosphere of unrest. In earlier clashes with police, some farmers died and thousands were arrested.
In a second rally the same day, young people marched on the home of Mrs Gandhi. They were protesting a government policy to make more education and jobs available to people of the Harijan caste -- formerly called Untouchables -- tribal people, and other so-called lower castes. The young people claim that college positions should be allocated by merit alone.
The main centre of the student-led agitation has been in the western state of Gujarat, and more than 30 people have died in the violence so far. The government is worried that the protests could spread to other states, leading to a violent caste conflict. So far, demonstrations by students to keep the Hurijans out of medical schools have been matched by opposition from the caste people against being kept in their unenviable place.
The government has said it will stand firm in making college places open for the poorer classes.