Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders on Tuesday criticized the 19-month-long period of Emergency declared by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, terming it as the “darkest chapter” in the history of India.

On the 44th anniversary of the Emergency, PM Modi paid tributes to the “greats who fiercely and fearlessly resisted” it.

He added that “India’s democratic ethos successfully prevailed over an authoritarian mindset”.

PM Modi also posted a 90-second video detailing on the various aspects of Emergency, from newspapers to justice delivery, referring it as a “dark period” that trampled over democracy.

Home Minister Amit recalled the period as “when the democracy was murdered for political interests”.

In a tweet, he said, the citizens of the country were stripped of their fundamental rights and the media was banned.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh termed the declaration of Emergency on June 25, 1975, and the incidents that followed as one of the darkest chapters in India’s history.

BJP Working President JP Nadda took to Twitter, saying that “democracy was murdered by the Congress party on this day merely to remain in power”.

“A grateful nation remembers thousands of unsung heroes from Bhartiya Jan Sangh and RSS, who led the anti-emergency movement from the front,” he added.

“The Emergency” refers to a 19-month period from 1975 to 1977 when the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had declared a state of emergency across the country.

During the period, elections were suspended and civil liberties curbed.

Most of Congress’ political opponents including Morarji Desai and Atal Bihari Vajpayee were imprisoned and the press was censored.

The Emergency was one of the most controversial periods of independent India’s history.

The final decision to impose an emergency was proposed by Indira Gandhi, agreed upon by the then president of India, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and thereafter ratified by the cabinet and the parliament, based on the rationale that there were imminent internal and external threats to the Indian state.