Explained: Why was 'Emergency' imposed in June 1975? Was Indira Gandhi trying to cover her mistakes?
New Delhi, June 25: On this day, in 1975, former prime minister Indira Gandhi imposed the "Emergency" which was followed by the black chapters of India's history. It was during this time, several people had literally lost their independence.
In the 1971 general elections, the former prime minister came to power with a thumping majority. Congress had won 352 Lok Sabha seats out of 518.
Though the "Emergency" was imposed on the intervening night of June 25 and 26, the foundation for it was laid on June 12, 1975, itself.
It was on June 12, 1975, when Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court ruled on a petition filed by Rajnarayan, a candidate of the United Socialist Party from Rae Bareli. In the petition, Rajnarayan made a slew of allegations against Gandhi which included bribing voters with liquor, misusing Air Force planes for campaigns.
Also, the court found Gandhi guilty of misuse of government machinery in elections and cancelled the election by also barring the former prime minister from contesting elections for six years.
The High Court's decision meant Indira Gandhi would have to leave the post of Prime Minister. An emergency meeting was called at the Prime Minister's official residence and where Indira Gandhi sought advice from all the leaders.
With the advice of Sanjay Gandhi, Indira Gandhi appealed in the Supreme Court against the June 23 ruling of the High Court.
On June 24 1975, the Supreme Court judge, Justice VR Krishna Iyer, said that he would not put a complete stay on the decision. And, the Supreme Court allowed Gandhi to remain Prime Minister, but she could not vote as an MP until the final verdict.
It was after this time, several protests and demonstrations erupted all over the country. Indira Gandhi got the then president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to sign the Emergency Declaration on midnight of June 25. Internal unrest was cited as the reason behind imposing the Emergency.
Soon after, all opposition leaders, including Jayaprakash Narayan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani, Morarji Desai were arrested. A radio broadcast was held where Indira Gandhi told the people of the country a deep conspiracy was hatched against that the government which is why Emergency had to be imposed.
Also, it was during this time, the freedom of press was taken away. Several senior journalists were sent to jail. At that time, anyone opposing emergency was punished by being out in jail. It is reportedly said that 11 lakh people were arrested and sent to jails.
Forty-five years later, it can be seen the BJP is ruling India for the past six years. Several feel that the current Modi 2.0 government is as harsh and severe as the then Indira Gandhi-led one.
It should be noted that, in 2015, one year after assuming power, NGOs had alleged that the PM Modi's government functioning brought back memories of the emergency. According to reports, speakers from media and various NGOs claimed that the economic policies of the government were an attack on the rights of farmers and workers.