From the archives of the Hindustan Times: August 1

Government announced its decision in the Lok Sabha today (July 31) to grant Statehood to the Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON AUG 07, 2019 06:42 PM IST

Centre accepts Himachal plea for Statehood (1970)

New Delhi- Government announced its decision in the Lok Sabha today (July 31) to grant Statehood to the Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh.

A Bill to give effect to the decision will be introduced in Parliament as early as possible, said Mr K. C. Pant, Minister of State for Home Affairs, in reply to an un-starred question (those which are not taken up for oral answer).

The surprise announcement was actually made by the Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, who drew the attention of the House to the written reply immediately after the Speaker announced that the question-hour was over. Had she not drawn the attention to the Government’s decision, it might have escaped notice of many unless they went through the voluminous replies to 200 unstarred questions for the day.

Mr Pant’s reply was to the Cong (N) member from Himanchal Pradesh. Mr Prem Chand Verma, who had asked that action had the Government taken on the assurance given by the Lok Sabha to grant Statehood to Himanchal Pradesh.

Mr Verma had inquired whether the relevant Bill would be introduced during the current session of Parliament.

Mrs Gandhi’s announcement was received with cheers from several members. But many from among the Opposition, especially from the Cong (0) and Jan Sangh, demanded that the Government should give Statehood to the Union Territory of Manipur also. Jan Sangh members wanted similar elevation in the status for Delhi as well.

Spacemen chart lunar terrain in first buggy ride (1971)

Space Centre- Apollo-15 astronauts David Scott and James Irwin became the first men to drive on the moon at 8-49 p.m. (IST) today (July 31), traversing the dusty surface in a moon buggy which had lost half of its steering capability.

When the astronauts found that they could not manipulate the front wheel system, they were directed by mission control to operate the lunar limousine on rear wheel steering only.

Television viewers saw the electric-powered buggy roll away behind the spidery lunar module, looking for all the world like a slow-motion golf-cart.

As the car swayed and bumped south, past craters and rock fragments, Scott reported that its speed, which went as high as about 12 kms an hour on the flat, dropped off as they went up the slopes.

Karnataka icon Rajkumar kidnapped by Veerappan (2000)

Bangalore/Chennai- In a sensational kidnapping, leading Kannada film-star and cine demi-god Dr Rajkumar and three of his associates were on Sunday (July 30) night abducted by dreaded smuggler-gangster Veerappan at Gajanur.

By this evening, the Tamil Nadu Government agreed to send, within the next couple of days, an emissary to Veerappan to secure the release of the hostages. Mr R.R. Gopal, the editor of Tamil magazine Nakeeran, is to be the emissary.

Gajanur, Dr Rajkumar’s native town, is situated on the fringes of the thick MM Hills forests on the Tamil Nadu side of the border with Karnataka, some 400 km from here.

Dr Rajkumar, revered by millions of fans in the State, was at Gajanur for the house-warming ceremony of his newly built bungalow when Verappan struck at 9.30 pm, fully armed and accompanied by 12 of his henchmen.

The kidnapping sent shock waves across Karnataka and all commercial activity came to a grinding halt in Bangalore. One person was also stabbed to death. Sensing the mood, Dr Rajkumar’s wife, Parvathamma, and his son appealed for calm.

This is by far Veerappan’s biggest “catch” in his unending saga of crime and terror. In October 1997, he had kidnapped six persons, including two wildlife photographers. Since then, he was lying low.

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