Prime Minister Narendra Modi raked up the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi era Emergency ahead of Monday’s first session of the 18th Lok Sabha, calling the its imposition on June 25, 1975 as a ‘black spot on the Constitution’ of India. The Opposition INDIA bloc leaders, including Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, waved a copy of the Indian Constitution to the Prime Minister as he said this.

 June 25, 2024, marks the 49th anniversary of the imposition of Emergency by the country’s first woman Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.

“Tomorrow is the 25th of June. For those dedicated to upholding the dignity of our Constitution and who believe in Bharat’s democratic traditions, the 25th of June is an unforgettable day. Tomorrow marks 50 years since a dark chapter was written into India’s democracy,” PM Modi remarked on Monday.

“The new generation of Bharat must never forget how the Constitution was completely disregarded, torn apart, and the country was turned into a prison, with democracy utterly suppressed,” Modi recalled.

“These 50 years since the Emergency remind us to protect our Constitution and democracy with pride. The countrymen must resolve that such a travesty will never be allowed to happen again. We commit ourselves to ensuring a vibrant democracy and fulfilling the common man’s dreams as outlined by the Indian Constitution”

This is not the first time the prime minister has condemned the Emergency. In 2023, on June 18, during the 102nd episode of Mann Ki Baat, PM Modi, had said, “Lakhs of people opposed the Emergency with full might. Supporters of democracy were tortured so much during that time, that even today, it makes the mind tremble”.

Imposition of Emergency in 1975

The Emergency, spanning from 1975 to 1977, was a period marked by the suspension of civil liberties, censorship of the press, and widespread persecution of political opponents under the leadership of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in India.

In a broadcast on All India Radio late on June 25, 1975, Indira Gandhi announced the imposition of Emergency shortly after the Supreme Court stayed the Allahabad High Court’s verdict against her election.

Indira Gandhi had cited a “deep conspiracy” to impose Emergency and initiated widespread arrests of opposition leaders.

Gandhi, who had won decisively in 1971 and led the liberation of Bangladesh, faced growing instability with protests and legal challenges.

The Gujarat Navnirman agitation, Jayaprakash Narayan’s movement, and a railway strike exacerbated tensions. Unperturbed by the stifling of dissent, a galvanised Opposition rallied against her, culminating in mass arrests of leaders including JP, L K Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Morarji Desai.

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Published: 25 Jun 2024, 07:14 AM IST