October 9, 1977, Forty Years Ago: Reception For Indira

In spite of section 144 Cr PC in the area, a crowd of about 5,000, had collected at the station when the train arrived an-hour-and-half late.

By: Editorials | Updated: October 9, 2017 4:18:52 am
Forty Years Ago, Indian Express Columns, Indria Gandhi, Reception of Indira, India News, Express Archives, From the vault, Indian Express The front page of Indian Express on October 9, 1977.

A tumultuous, well-organised and “spontaneous” welcome was given to Mrs Indira Gandhi at the New Delhi railway station on her return from a tour of . In spite of section 144 Cr PC in the area, a crowd of about 5,000, had collected at the station when the train arrived an-hour-and-half late.

CPM Blames Janata

The CPI(M) blamed “the political leadership of the ruling Janata Party and its government” for mismanaging Indira Gandhi’s arrest and prosecution. In a statement, the politburo of the party said the arrest and prosecution of the former PM and her closest colleagues was primarily a political act. It should not have been dealt with in the routine legal procedural way. Whatever legal procedures had to be adopted should have been supplemented by political action by way of mobilising public opinion against the anti-democratic postures and action of the former prime minister. The statement said while the bureaucrats of the CBI and the Home Ministry could not be absolved of their share of responsibility for mismanaging their action in arresting Mrs Gandhi and producing her before the court, “the major responsibility falls on the political leadership of the ruling Janata Party and its government”. It said the biggest crime with which Mrs Gandhi and her closest colleagues should be charged was “the crime against democracy”.

HM’s Defence

Home Minister Charan Singh repudiated the charge that he was vindictive and regretted that she was not behaving well and throwing unnecessary challenges. He said that the Congressmen were adopting a violent posture and trying to create chaos and confusion. Singh told the media that Mrs Gandhi deserved a Nuremberg-style trial for the crimes she had committed against the nation, the people, the Constitution, the press and the judiciary. However, he had decided to deal with her under the existing laws.

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