Hyderabad: Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting M. Venkaiah Naidu has described emergency as one of the darkest periods in India which could not be forgotten.
Venkaiah Naidu was speaking at a function organized to mark the 42nd anniversary of imposing of Emergency at Mydam Anjaiah Function Hall here on Sunday. “The intervening night between 25th and 26th June, 1975 was one of midnight knocks and arbitrary arrests of almost the entire opposition leadership.
Destruction of personal liberty on such scale had not been seen since the British left. It is one of the painful memories that I carry is of the dreaded Emergency,” he said.
He said no one could forget June 25-26, 1975 when the nation was turned into a jail and bound with chains of Emergency for lust of power 42 years ago. “Does it have any relevance 42 years after? JP described his agitation against Indira Gandhi government as ‘Second Freedom Struggle’.
It was for restoration for civil liberties and rule of law, as our original freedom movement was for political emancipation. We are remembering the original freedom movement on its 70th anniversary this year,” he said.
“Indira Gandhi had won a huge mandate in 5th general elections held in March 1-10, 1971. Congress held 352 seats in 5th Lok Sabha, close to 2/3rd majority.
After Indo-Pak War in December, 1971 her popularity had skyrocketed. Yet it is a pity that she could not ensure general satisfaction of the masses. Corruption and favoritism were institutionalized during her regime.
Her dictatorial style of functioning put her out of sync with the masses even after such resounding victory, or perhaps due to it,” he said.
Venkaiah Naidu said Indira Gandhi, unlike her father Pandit Nehru, did not encounter opposition members like Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Ram Manohar Lohia both of whom died prematurely. It was only during 1975 that she encountered Jay Prakash Narain. Otherwise her huge majority was left to her whims and fancy, he said.
The Union Minister said Maintenance of Internal Security Act, 1971 (Act No.26 or 1971/July 2, 1971) was widely misused to arrest opposition leaders, student leaders and social activists. “The use of MISA, 1971 rather than Defence of India Act, 1962 made 1975 Emergency all the more formidable.
The 39th amendment of the Constitution enacted on August 10, 1975 (during the Emergency) put the MISA, 1971 in the 9th Schedule thus making it immune from judicial review. This draconic act was repealed by the Janata Party government when it came to power in 1977.
The 44th Constitution Amendment Act, 1978 brought in by Janata Government made the recurrence of Emergency impossible,” he said.
Venkaiah Naidu recalled he was an ABVP activist during Emergency and he too was arrested and jailed. “This anniversary on emergency is an occasion for all of to rededicate ourselves to the task of further strengthening our democracy,” he said. (INN)