Today is the anniversary of the darkest chapter of Indian democracy, the Emergency. Forty-three years ago, the Congress party made mockery of the Indian Democracy. The then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, imposed emergency on the midnight of 25 June 1975. During the time of emergency, fundamental rights of citizens were suspended, each and every voice of dissent and protest were brutally suppressed, and all the constitutional bodies were forced to surrender before the government’s diktat. Journalists were told to bend but they crawled and those who defied the diktat were imprisoned. Electricity supply to newspaper publishing houses was also cut off. The opposition leaders were thrown behind bars and then tortured. Houses of people were demolished and forced sterilization campaign was carried out on the orders of Sanjay Gandhi. Those days were one of the saddest times of Indian history, a brutal display of power and arrogance.
Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi were at the forefront of the emergency. They replaced Democracy with the Dictatorship and committed horrendous brutalities on common masses. They were taking all sorts of lunatic initiatives. One such crazy initiative was to make way for a clear view of Jama Masjid from the Connaught Place. According to the Congress worker Razia Sultana, in old Delhi’s Turkman gate area in order to convert the idea of the unhindered view of Jama Masjid into reality, 15 bull-dozers ringed the Turkman Gate. Entire area was packed with the Police. First some DDA flats were bulldozed due to which clashes between the security forces and tenements erupted following which police firing was ordered and many innocent protestors lost their lives. There is an official police record of how many people died that day in the Police firing. According to Razia, Sanjay Gandhi and her aide Ruksana Sultana were hidden in the Dujana House and watching the brutalities committed on the residents of Turkman Gate. She further claimed, “They escaped in disguise, wearing burqas.”
These brutalities, killings, razing of houses, displacing people became a norm during the emergency. According to ‘Unsettling Memories: Narratives of the Emergency in Delhi’ a book written by Emma Tarlo, “Within a mere 21 months, an estimated 70,000 people were displaced from slums and commercial properties in large areas of old Delhi.”
Unfortunately, the country has forgotten all these horrors of Emergency and seems to have forgiven its perpetrators. Youths of today hardly know anything about the emergency. The rosy picture of emergency is painted in the course books. In order to make youths aware of the horrors and the dark picture of the emergency BJP has decided to observe 25th June as the Black day. A BJP leader spoke about what the party hoped to achieve by holding June 25th as Black Day, “This day is going to be marked to protest the autocratic rule of former PM Indira Gandhi. Today’s generation will be hardly aware of the emergency imposed by her and the atrocities they meted out to the leaders of the BJP and common people.” Had the Emergency happened in any other country of the world, the perpetrators and those who extended it ideological and moral support and their real descendants would not have been running a legitimate mainstream political party in the country. For Turkman gate massacre and other such numerous excesses during the emergency, the country must hold the people responsible who still eulogize the main perpetrators of this dark period, Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi. The protestors killed during Turkman gate massacre would only then find justice and peace.