Calls for inclusion of Emergency in the curriculum to remind the young of the darkest hour of democracy and value of liberty and freedom Shri Naidu recounts 33 aberrations that sterilised democracy and destroyed the Constitution Recalls several acts of repression against media Asks citizens to be guardians of liberties of fellow countrymen
On the occasion of the 43rd anniversary of ‘Emergency‘ that shook the nation, Vice President of India Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today asserted that intolerant citizens violating the freedoms of fellow citizens have no right to be ‘Indians’ as it goes against the core values and ethos of India. He spoke at length on the fallacious causes and the consequences of Emergency after releasing Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Gujarati versions of ‘Emergency: Indian Democracy’s Darkest Hour’ authored by Chairman of Prasar Bharti Shri A. Surya Prakash.
2. Stating that no sensible Government would dare to resort to Emergency after the resounding pro-democracy verdict of the people in 1977, Shri Naidu said that now the threat to individual freedoms is from some misguided citizens.He said “I am confident that no sensible government would repeat what was done during the fateful night of June 25, 1975. That was clearly a State sponsored ‘Intolerance’ to democracy and individual freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. But we need to guard against intolerance on the part of certain misguided citizens. We have been occasionally witnessing some such words and deeds of intolerance by some citizens in the name of so called cow protection, Love Jihad, eating habits, watching films, etc. Such incidents lead us to the point that individual freedoms can be in full play only when every citizen respects such freedoms of fellow citizens. Post emergency, the State apparatus would think twice before riding roughshod over the liberties and freedoms of citizens. But it is enlightened citizens who would enable fuller manifestation of such liberties and freedoms. ”
3. The Vice President asserted that the core Indian values and ethos have no place for intolerance due to which all the major religions of the world are flourishing in India. He further said; “On the 43rd anniversary of Emergency, I would like the message to go out that any citizen who violates the freedoms of fellow citizens would have no right to be called an Indian. It is because he is hurting the Constitution of India and all that India stood for.”
4. Referring to the medieval period of about a thousand years that destroyeddemocratic traditions of ancient India and the British Raj finding a place in the text books and not the Emergency in the post-Independent India, Shri Naidu said “Its time, the dark days of Emergency becomes part of the curriculum, so that present generations are sensitized to the dreaded events of 1975-77 and they learn to value the democratic freedoms they enjoy today.”
5. Referring to his own imprisonment of over 17 months during Emergency, Shri Venkaiah Naidu listed 33 aberrations of that period, which he said sterilised democracy in the country, destroyed the Constitution and deprived the citizens of their Right to Life and Liberty. He expressed concern over the way the Executive became dictatorial, Parliament abdicated its responsibility to the Executive and Judiciary sank to its lowest during the Emergency.
6. Shri Naidu referred to strangulation of media during Emergency through various measures which include police officers becoming the editors of news papers censoring news, snapping electricity supply to prevent publication of news papers, arrest and harassment of upright journalists and their family members, stopping of advertisements to news papers critical of Emergency, abolition of the Press Council, the Parliament passing various laws stifling media, etc.
7. Shri Naidu expressed particular concern over the Supreme Court accepting the Government’s position that citizens had no right during Emergency to seek remedy even if they were killed by police officers on account personal enmity, not opposing the 42nd Constitution amendment that went against the doctrine of ‘Basic features of Constitution’ propounded by the apex Court in the famous Keshavanand Bharti Case in 1973.
8. The Vice President took objection to the then President signing the Proclamation of Emergency during the fateful night without the backing of the Cabinet decision and the President being empowered to amend the Constitution at the will of the Government through executive orders. He also lamented the emergence of small coteriethat ran the affairs of the State with no accountability but with full powers.
9. Shri Naidu, quoting government records said that of the 6,330 MISA detenues from political parties and banned organisations, 4,026 were from the RSS and Jan Sangh. He referred to how Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi as RSS Pracharak during those days led the underground movement and played a key role in helping the families of those jailed by the Government besides organising secret resistance meetings.
10. Referring to the heroes and villains of the Emergency period, Shri Naidu described the then Supreme Court Judge Shri H. R. Khanna as one of the great heroes for defending the Fundamental Rights of citizens and differing with four fellow judges. Shri RamnathGoenka of Indian Express was among the other heroes, he said. “Emergency should not be bandied about casually or irresponsibly. Emergency means dictatorship and the worst abuse of executive power”, Shri Naidu said.