Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday paid tributes to all those who “fiercely and fearlessly” resisted the 19-month-long period of Emergency imposed by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the 1970s. Tuesday marks 44 years of the imposition of the Emergency.
Modi said that India’s democratic ethos had successfully prevailed over “authoritarian mindset”. The Emergency was revoked in March 1977.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the declaration of the Emergency on June 25, 1975 and the incidents that followed were “one of the darkest chapters in India’s history”. “On this day, we the people of India should always remember the importance of upholding the integrity of our institutions and the Constitution,” he said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah also took to Twitter and recalled how citizens were denied their fundamental rights during the Emergency. “It was on this day in 1975 that democracy of the country was murdered only for political interests,” Shah wrote. “Fundamental rights were taken away from the countrymen, the newspapers were locked. Lakhs of patriots suffered a lot to re-establish democracy in the country. I salute all those soldiers.”
Bharatiya Janata Party’s working President Jagat Prakash Nadda tweeted that the period was a “black spot” for the country as “democracy was murdered by the then government for its vested political interests”. “A grateful nation remembers thousands of unsung heroes from Bharatiya Jan Sangh and RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh], who led the anti-Emergency movement from the front,” he said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that an Emergency-like situation should never be allowed to repeat in the country. He called it “one of the biggest assaults” on India’s democracy. “Let us resolve never to allow repetition of subversion of the Constitution of this great democracy,” he said.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre, saying that the country has been going through “super emergency” for the past five years. “Today is the anniversary of the Emergency declared in 1975,” she said. “We must learn our lessons from history and fight to safeguard the democratic institutions in the country.”