The dark memories of the draconian ‘National Emergency’ is still not forgotten. It was on 25th June 1975 that the President of India promulgated the ‘National Emergency’ at the instance of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In fact the declaration was not because there was an emergency situation in the country, but only because there was a danger to the continuance of the Indira Gandhi government after the Supreme Court verdict nullifying her election. It was a fake emergency imposed upon the people to save Indian National Congress and Indira Gandhi.
The 1974 Railway Strike and various agitation by the workers, the strong protest against the anti-people decisions of the government followed by the Supreme Court verdict created a situation, where the ruling party was not in a position to digest. The panacea to pass over the crisis was the declaration of emergency. All political opponents were arrested and put in jail arbitrarily. Trade Union leaders were also jailed. The newspapers were silenced. They could not print any criticism of the government. Functioning of political parties and democratic institutions were literally prohibited. The police and the government machinery were utilised to crush any opposition to the ruling party and the government. It was dictatorship.
Leaders of central/state government employees’ unions were also jailed. It was difficult even to hold union meetings. There were spies, CBI, CID etc. every where to report any objection to the emergency. Student leaders were arrested and jailed. NFPTE also had to face a lot of victimisation.
The entire opposition parties united to fight against the National Emergency. Thinking that the entire opposition was derailed, Indira Gandhi declared General election in 1977 after about two years of emergency. But the government was mistaken. The people who were suffering under emergency ensured that the Congress is defeated. It was one of utter defeat for the Congress. The Janatha government came in to power. The dark days were over.
Though 43 years are over, the dark period is not forgotten. There are many indications that the actions of the present government is tilting towards authoritarianism and fascist tendencies. The entire people should ensure that the ‘Emergency’ is not repeated.