News Brief

Dictatorship Imposed By Indira Gandhi: All About Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla's Speech On Emergency

Kuldeep Negi

Jun 26, 2024, 03:02 PM | Updated 03:02 PM IST

Lo Sabha Speaker Om Birla
Lo Sabha Speaker Om Birla

After being elected as Lok Sabha Speaker on Wednesday (26 June), Om Birla condemned the then Congress government's decision to impose emergency in 1975.

Birla asked the House members to rise for two minutes' silence to mark the 50th anniversary of the "dark days of Emergency". 

This sparked an uproar from the Opposition benches.

Birla said remembering and educating the younger generation about such critical historical events is imperative.

"Awareness towards the Constitution will only strengthen when the young generation knows about democracy," Birla remarked.

"The Emergency is a dark chapter in India's democracy. Then PM Indira Gandhi imposed an Emergency and attacked the Constitution," he said, NDTV reported.

The Indian Emergency, spanning 21 months, was a period of significant political upheaval in India. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a national emergency, attributing it to "internal disturbance," with President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed officially issuing the order under Article 352 of the Constitution.

During this period, civil liberties were suspended, elections were cancelled, and the Prime Minister ruled with an iron fist. Political opponents were imprisoned, dissidents were forced into hiding and the press faced severe censorship.

Without mincing words, Birla in his address to the House condemned the imposition of the Emergency.

"This House strongly condemns the decision to impose Emergency in 1975. Along with this, we appreciate the determination of all those people who opposed the Emergency, fought and fulfilled the responsibility of protecting the democracy of India. June 25, 1975, will always be known as a black chapter in the history of India," he said. 

"India is known all over the world as the mother of democracy. Democratic values and debate have always been supported in India. Democratic values have always been protected; they have always been encouraged. Dictatorship was imposed on such an India by Indira Gandhi. The democratic values of India were crushed and freedom of expression was strangled," Birla added.

PM Modi praised the stance taken by the Lok Sabha speaker on the Emergency.

"I am glad that the Honourable Speaker strongly condemned the Emergency, highlighted the excesses committed during that time and also mentioned the manner in which democracy was strangled. It was also a wonderful gesture to stand in silence in honour of all those who suffered during those days," PM Modi wrote in a post on X.

"The Emergency was imposed 50 years ago but it is important for today's youth to know about it because it remains a fitting example of what happens when the Constitution is trampled over, public opinion is stifled and institutions are destroyed. The happenings during the Emergency exemplified what a dictatorship looks like," PM Modi added.

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Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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