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PM Modi recalls dark days of Emergency, lauds courage of those who fought for India’s democracy

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi.(File Photo)

In his Mann ki Baat on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled the dark days of the Emergency, imposed on June 25, 1975,  and lauded the courage of those who continued to fight for democratic rights despite state repression.

"Despite several attempts, thousands of arrests and atrocities on millions, faith of Indians in democracy could not be shaken," the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister said that during the Emergency, citizens were deprived of all rights, including the Right to Life and Personal Liberty enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution.

"I want to ask every youth a question, especially those in the age group of 24-25 years. The question is really serious. Do think over my question. Do you know that when your parents were of your age, once even their Right to Life was snatched. You must be thinking, how is it possible? It is impossible. But once this had happened in our country. This had happened in the month of June 1975, when an Emergency was imposed. During Emergency, all the rights of the citizens were snatched. Among these rights, was the right to life and personal liberty to citizens guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. At that time, attempts were made to crush democracy in India," PM Modi said.

He also said that the country's courts, and the press was brought under control and Censorship that was so stringent that nothing could be published without approval.

He also recalled the ordeal that popular singer Kishore Kumar had to go through during the Emergency.

"I remember, when famous singer Kishore Kumar refused to praise the government, he was banned. He was not allowed on radio," he said.

PM Modi further said that he is fortunate to be a witness as well as a participant in the struggle of our countrymen during the emergency.

"The democratic values ingrained in us since centuries, the spirit of democracy that flows in our veins ultimately triumphed through the democratic process only. People of India got rid of the Emergency and restored Democracy. There is no other example in the world of such victory over dictator hip through the democratic process. I was fortunate to be a witness as well as a participant in the struggle of our countrymen during an emergency," he added.

The Prime Minister further asked people to never forget the Emergency period, during this time when we celebrate 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'.

"Today, when the country is celebrating 75 years of Independence, we must not forget the dark period of Emergency. The future generation should also not forget it. Amrit Mahotsav not only tells us stories of Independence from foreign rule but also tells us the journey of 75 years of Independence. We move ahead only by learning from every important juncture in our history," PM Modi added.

Emergency was declared for a 21-month period from 1975 to 1977 by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Officially issued by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352 of the Constitution due to the prevailing "internal disturbance", the Emergency was in effect from June 25, 1975, until its withdrawal on March 21, 1977.

The order vested upon the Prime Minister the authority to rule by decree, allowing elections to be suspended and civil liberties to be curbed..