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India Frees Jailed Sikh Separatists

From Times Wire Services

Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi ordered the release of a group of Sikh separatists, some held since 1984, in a conciliatory move Friday aimed at ending violence in Punjab state.

The release order was among a series of measures announced by Gandhi in Parliament.

The measures included lifting travel restrictions on foreigners in Punjab and withdrawal of special powers to arrest and try suspected Sikh separatists.

The release of an undisclosed number of prisoners from jail in Rajasthan state, held there since a military operation against extremists in Punjab in 1984, is expected to lead to talks between Sikhs and the government.

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