THE EMERGENCY Political Prisoners’ Seminar has been ‘democratic’ in the preparation of its list of invitees for the June 26 felicitation of those who had opposed the Emergency and were detained. Therefore, the Samajwadi Party managed show has decided to honour political prisoners cutting across party lines, even those from the far right — the RSS and the BJP.
“We have even invited Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and BJP leaders who were jailed during the Emergency. There will be no discrimination. We believe in democracy and every one is free to follow his ideology,” convenor of the forum and Samajwadi Party leader Ravidas Mehrotra said.
The former SP MLA said, “Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav will inaugurate the programme. It will be attended by senior leaders like Janeshwar Mishra, Beni Prasad Verma, Reoti Raman Singh, Harikewal Prasad, Bhagwati Singh and Ram Saran Das.” Mehrotra demanded the status and facilities accorded to freedom fighter for those who fought the Emergency.
Lashing out at the move, the Congress said the felicitation was a ‘joint programme’ of the Samajwadi Party and the BJP.
“The programme is not for MISA and DIR detainees, it is a felicitation of those in the communal RSS,” Congress spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh said, adding that about 80 per cent of the detainees were ‘RSS people’.