MPs demand recognition, pension for Emergency ‘victims’

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New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) Several members of the Rajya Sabha on Thursday demanded recognition and grant of Central pension to the persons who were jailed and suffered during the Emergency clamped on the country by the Indira Gandhi regime in 1975.

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the upper House, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) member Prasanna Acharya said that “thousands of commoners who fought to restore democracy” at that time are still living in abject poverty and have been “forgotten by the people in power”.

More than a dozen members cutting across party lines seconded the demand by associating themselves with the issue.

“Apart from the leaders, hundreds and thousands of people of this country were also put inside the jails. Most of them are unlamented and forgotten by those occupying the seat of power due to the sacrifices of the common people,” Acharya said.

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He said he personally knew a few people who were jailed during the Emergency and were leading a life in abject poverty with no consistent means of sustenance.

“My suggestion to the government is to give some sort of recognition to those fighters of the second freedom struggle led by Jaya Prakash Narayan. Let this government provide, at least, a meagre pension to those who are in need these days,” he said.

“During the last Session, I put a question to the Home Minister asking about the number of those people who took part in that struggle and were arrested and put inside the jails and who are still alive. The government does not have the reply till now. They have been collecting the information for the last four months,” Acharya added.

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The MPs, who associated themselves with the cause, included Neeraj Shekhar, Revati Raman Singh, Ram Nath Thakur, Ram Vichar Netam, Rupa Ganguly, Naresh Gujral, Narendra Jadhav, Wansuk Syiem, Syed Nasir Hussain, K.K. Ragesh, Sarojini Hembram among others.

–IANS

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