Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Sunday honoured 66 persons who were jailed during the Emergency. The CM said the Emergency is a significant episode of Independent India and that those who had raised their voices and struggled against it in that period should always be remembered.
He was addressing the Loktantra Prahari Samman function at Shimla, which was organised to pay respect and to honour the immense contributions made to Indian democracy by the persons who were jailed during the Emergency.
Thakur said generally people have a tendency to forget the past, especially hard times, but the Emergency period should never be forgotten as it had taught several lessons.
“The Emergency is an important part of our history and the youth and future generation should also get acquainted with it,” the CM said.
He also said that in 2019 the HP government had decided to start the Loktantra Prahari Samman Yojna to honour the persons who were put behind bars during the Emergency.
“On 20 March 2021, the state government passed the HP Loktantra Prahari Bill 2021 in Vidhan Sabha and with this, people of the state who were jailed during Emergency would get honorarium. Emergency was imposed at midnight on 25 June 1975 which remained in force till 21 March 1977 for 21 months. Every person was performing their respective job and circumstances were normal and law and order situation was also under control so there was no such need of imposing Emergency. Nobody had ever thought of it, which was a tough and difficult phase of Independent India,” he said.
The Chief Minister said Indira Gandhi contested the Lok Sabha election from Rae Bareilly and had won with a huge margin, which was challenged in the High Court.
The Allahabad High Court found Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractices and declared the election verdict in the Rae Bareilly constituency “null and void”, and barred Gandhi from holding elected office for six years. Indira Gandhi was not willing to give up power, and thus imposed the Emergency in the country, Thakur said.
He said during the Emergency the government had deprived the common people of their fundamental rights and nobody could raise their voice against the government.
A large number of leaders and people including many innocent persons were jailed without any valid reasons and even censorship was imposed on newspapers and other media during that period 45 years ago.
“This year being HP’s 50th Statehood Day and to mark its Golden Jubilee, the government has decided to organise 51 events in the state. The main objective of organising these functions is to make the younger generation aware about the developmental journey of Himachal Pradesh during last 50 years,” the CM said, adding the state has made “immense progress and development” in various sectors. On this occasion, out of 81 “Loktantra Prahari” about 66 persons were honoured by the Chief Minister.