Gujarat Governor O P Kohli Saturday said that the details of the Emergency, imposed by the Indira Gandhi government in 1975, should find a place in school and university curricula. Kohli was speaking at an event organised to mark the 41st anniversary of Emergency.
The event, held at Tagore Hall in Ahmedabad, was organised by Gujarat chapter of Loktantra Senani Sangh, headed by BJP leader Jayanti Barot. About 270-odd Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) detainees were present at the event. At the event, senior BJP leader K D Jeswani brought up the resolution seeking the inclusion of Emergency literature in education and journalism curricula, and the granting of freedom fighter status to MISA detainees.
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Speaking at the event, Governor Kohli pointed out that during the Emergency, opposition leaders were jailed and the media was gagged through the government’s misuse of MISA. While many journalists either toed the official line, a few, like Ramnath Goenka, Nikhil Chakravarty or K R Malkani, took a stand against the Emergency and the government, he added.
Stating that the new generation had not heard of the Emergency or its history, Kohli said, “Now, this history must be included in school and university courses and all details must be brought out from all sources. The resolution brought up by the Sangh to include this in the curriculum is apt.”
He also stressed that the role of the mothers and sisters of MISA detainees should be acknowledged.
Vajubhai Vala, Governor of Karnataka and a MISA detainee like Kohli, said that not a single detainee belonging to the RSS or the Jan Sangh was apologetic or afraid of being jailed. He claimed that this boldness formed the basis of the present-day BJP. On MISA detainees being granted freedom fighter status, he said that such status had to come on its own, with the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
State BJP president Vijay Rupani, who according to Vala is the youngest MISA detainee, said democratic values had sustained themselves despite the imposition of the Emergency, when the Congress strangled the four pillars of democracy. He said that in Gujarat, Rajkot and Ahmedabad were the epicentres of resistance during the Emergency. Most RSS leaders were jailed in the two cities, he added.
He said that the people were champions of democracy and they defeated its opponents by making the BJP government a reality. He added that jailed senior leaders, like Vishnu Pandya and Vajubhai Vala, taught youngsters of that time lessons in democratic values while in jail.