Bhubaneswar: Governor Ganeshi Lal on Monday said on June 25, 1975, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had misguided the country with a fake democracy and it was purely personal and political vendetta that led her to declare Emergency in India.
“June 25, 1975, will always be remembered for the collapse of democratic institutions and suspension of right to freedom of citizens,” Lal said in a statement issued to the media on the 43rd anniversary of the imposition of Emergency in India. Lal took over as Governor of Odisha on May 29.
Lal, who has served the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, pointed out that proclamation of Emergency had hit civil rights and liberties and imposition of press censorship for an indefinite period in the country. “The then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi misguided the country with a fake democracy and it was purely personal and political vendetta that led her to take such a drastic decision. Even the slogan ‘India is Indira and Indira is India’ is undemocratic and is too much in a country like ours where an individual cannot be above or equal to the country,” he maintained.
Stating that Haryana had witnessed gravest of such situations, where leaders were mercilessly jailed, Lal said he was then serving as Professor in National College in Haryana and was a victim of Emergency and beaten all ends up by policemen in the middle of the road in broad daylight and he had to face police torture. He along with others was put behind the bars for opposing the Emergency, he informed, adding, all those who lived through it, the Emergency was a 19-month nightmare and they are determined to see no repetition of this act of murdering democracy in the country.
Lal underscored that it is the Constitution and the citizens, who are the real strength of India, and said, “Forty-three years have passed in the mean time and the nightmare of 21 months of dictatorial rule in a democratic country under the Emergency still haunts those who have suffered during that period, faced the brutality of police force and spent months together in jails across the country.”
He further said leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan (JP), Morarji Desai, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani, Charan Singh, Chandrasekhar, George Fernandes, Nanaji Deshmukh, Arun Jaitely and many more such men were targeted and put behind bars. “Many also went underground. Even the common man was not spared. They were arrested without trial; and even there are many who were harassed mercilessly. MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act) was completely misused,” he added.
The governor said 1975 National Emergency was a great lesson. “Every time it is remembered, it is time to revisit seriously that dark period in modern Indian democratic history to raise vigilance and awareness so that in future civil liberties are not violated and basic human rights are fully protected,” he said.
Lal said more than half the country’s population having been born after 1975 know little about the Emergency. “They must be made aware of what had happened then, the demerits of Emergency and how the country and its citizens had suffered. As future leaders of the country, our youth must be at the forefront to make country vibrant,” he stated.
The governor ended his statement saying that it is not just the citizens of the country but for governments to follow to honour Indian democracy and Constitution of India and always be committed to the philosophy and practice of democracy.”Press freedom and civil liberties in the country are here to stay and our democratic institutions are allowed to function in the interests of citizens and strengthen the edifice of Indian democracy and hold national democratic conscience,” he added.