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Yogi govt increases pension of Emergency ‘fighters’

The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Uttar Pradesh has announced increase in the monthly pension of those who fought and suffered during the Emergency imposed by the Congress in 1975.

lucknow Updated: Jun 27, 2018 12:06 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Yogi Adityanath,Emergency fighters,Pension
Union minister Mukhtar Abaas Naqvi felicitated ‘Emergency fighters’ in Lucknow.(HT Photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh has announced increase in the monthly pension of those who fought and suffered during the Emergency imposed by the Congress in 1975.

Those who had resisted the 21-month-long Emergency would now draw a pension of ₹20,000, ₹5000 more than what they were getting so far.

The decision is expected to benefit around 7000 of them in UP.

The UP government announced the decision a day after several Emergency detainees met deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma and told him that while the previous Samajwadi Party government had increased their pension, the present government had done precious little for them so far.

“Though the decision would put additional burden on the state exchequer of more than ₹35 crore annually, the decision was taken to reflect the government’s commitment towards protecting democratic values that were trampled upon by the Congress,” said Mrityunjay Kumar, advisior to chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

The BJP annually observes June 25, when the Emergency was declared, as a black day in Indian democracy.

However, in UP it was the Samajwadi Party government which was the first to recognize these Emergency detainees in 2006, when it started a pension of ₹500 and subsequently revised it to ₹1000. The BSP government had subsequently discontinued the pension but the move was challenged in court. The Akhilesh Yadav government which replaced the BSP in 2012 not only restored the pension but revised it to about ₹10000 and more.

Currently, the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh is the only state where Emergency detainees are treated nearly at par with freedom fighters and where the government gives ₹25000 to them.

“We want status akin to freedom fighters. We have written several letters to the Modi government on this. We respect freedom fighters, but our contribution wasn’t any less significant. We suffered at the hands of the police during the Congress regime for resisting emergency. For us, it was like being part of a second war of independence,” says Rajendra Tiwari, 63, a former RSS pracharak who later also became a minister in Kalyan Singh government.

Tiwari was picked up by the police on July 1, 1975 and remained in prison till March 23, 1977 – the longest period anyone from UP was in jail during Emergency days.

Surya Kumar, 62, a Bahraich resident, says he still vividly remembers how he was beaten up for two days for opposing Emergency. “While we are proud of having opposed the Emergency, now in the twilight of our life we realize the need for social security too. There aren’t very many of us left either,” he says.

First Published: Jun 27, 2018 12:06 IST