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BJP govt too putting democracy at stake

BJP govt too putting democracy at stake
Highlights

Democracy has its dark hours. As for the Indian democracy, the darkest was perhaps the internal emergency period during Indira Gandhi\'s regime. Declared on June 26, 1975, it was a direct attack on the system and brought in an authoritarian regime. 

Democracy has its dark hours. As for the Indian democracy, the darkest was perhaps the internal emergency period during Indira Gandhi's regime. Declared on June 26, 1975, it was a direct attack on the system and brought in an authoritarian regime.

Civil liberties were suspended and opposition leaders jailed. All activists were kept under preventive custody and there was press censorship too with the help of amendment to the Constitution which introduced draconian measures. Indira Gandhi was forced to prove that all those measures were good for the country and to uphold democratic values and system she had done it. Hence, she accused the Opposition of plotting to destabilise her government. The RSS was banned as an organisation and the Jana Sangh and RSS to the Left, everyone was put behind bars i.e., she did not spare anyone from the socialists to the CPI(M) to the RSS.

As the present government thought it fit to revisit the darkest period to go hammer and tongs against the Congress, it becomes inevitable that one recalls the past scrupulously. The BJP is now trying to project RSS and the Jana Sangh as the heroes of the day (during Emergency) who saved democracy and the country from the clutches of the draconian rule of Indira Gandhi.

One has to agree that RSS leaders were put behind bars. But it is also true that several of them tendered apology to escape punishment later. They went ahead and supported the 20-point programme and secured their release. So, what is Arun Jaitley and Co crowing about? No doubt, Arun Jaitley too was jailed under MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act). He would have seen alongside – in the jail – youth of steel who were fighting the emergency with every given opportunity.

Whatever could be the reason for Indira Gandhi to impose Emergency, one factor could not be ruled out as the most significant. Sidharth Shankar Ray who was heading West Bengal. Now what made her get guided by Ray is not exactly known. But her close aides like R K Dhawan later admitted that but for Ray she would not have gone ahead. Such was the clout of Ray over her psyche that she submitted all her powers to him in obliging him and imposing the internal emergency without blinking her eye once.

Today when the BJP talks about the emergency era of four decades ago and cites violation of human rights and fundamental rights, it is forgetting its own misrule that has ushered in an era of fear, apprehension and vigilantism. Narendra Modi's stoic silence in condemning the relentless attacks on individuals and systems is as frightening as the days of Emergency.

The 'taken for granted' attitude of the fringe groups in pursuing its single point agenda of imposing Hindutva in every sphere is as unabashed as that of the Indira regime. The State-aided vigilantism and the lynch mobs and the intimidation of the media and free voices, suppression of dissent and support to even rapists by some law makers is as blood chilling as any. Let us remember eternal vigil is the price of democracy.

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