Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that during the Emergency imposed in 1975 attempts were made to “crush democracy” in India, and asserted that it is difficult to find another such example in the world where people defeated a “dictatorial mindset” through democratic means.
In his Mann Ki Baat radio broadcast, Modi recalled the Emergency imposed by the then Indira Gandhi-led government and said all rights were “snatched away” during that time.
Emergency was announced in the country on June 25, 1975 when Indira Gandhi was the prime minister, and was lifted on March 21, 1977.
“During the Emergency, all rights were snatched away. Among these rights was the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. At that time, attempts were made to crush democracy in India, the country’s courts, every constitutional institution, press, everything was brought under control,” Modi said.
He said censorship was so stringent that nothing could be published without approval.
“I remember, when famous singer Kishore Kumar ji refused to praise the government, he was banned, he was not allowed on radio,” the prime minister said.
Despite several attempts, thousands of arrests and atrocities on millions, the faith of Indians in democracy could not be shaken, he asserted.
“The democratic values ingrained in us since centuries, the spirit of democracy that flows in our veins, ultimately triumphed,” Modi said.
Through democratic means, people of India got rid of the Emergency and restored democracy, he said.
“It is difficult to find an example like this in the world of defeating the dictatorial mindset through democratic means,” Modi said.
“I was fortunate to be a witness as well as a participant in the struggle of our countrymen during the Emergency. Today, when the country is celebrating 75 years of its Independence, we must not forget the dark period of Emergency. Future generations also must not forget it,” he said.