The Haryana government on Tuesday became the first in the country to honour people jailed during the Emergency. The state felicitated 20 former prisoners at the official Republic Day function held in the Tau Devi Lal stadium, Gurgaon.
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar honoured the former prisoners with rewards such as “Tamar Patra” — free bus travel facility for both the husband and wife, and free healthcare in government hospitals — at the function.
“The Emergency of 1975 is a black chapter in the history of Indian democracy. Our government is felicitating all those who were imprisoned during the period,” Khattar said in his speech.
The free bus travel facility in state-run buses and 75% discount in Volvo buses were implemented on October 2, 2015, though these honours were to be given by August 15 last year.
The decision, which received criticism from various quarters, did not go down well with the awardees either as they felt they should have been felicitated separately and not with the freedom fighters and war widows.
“Our struggle cannot be compared to that of freedom fighters. There should have been a separate platform for us,” Vipin Singla, one among the 20 people who were felicitated said.
The emergency was imposed by the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government on June 25, 1975 and was in place for 21 months till its withdrawal on March 21, 1977.
Colourful cultural programmes and march-past were also organised on the occasion. Several contingents of police, home guards and NCC among others participated in the Republic Day parade. Haryana police personnel performed stunts on motorcycles. School students put up a good show with dance and yoga while 16 tableaux based on welfare schemes of the government were also on display.