The thousands of Indians who are still reeling under the shock of the Congress’ announcement of appointing Kamal Nath as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh in the light of his much documented ‘involvement’ in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom on the very day when another accused Sajjan Kumar was sentenced to life imprisonment, the M.P government’s decision to suspend monthly pensions for those detained during Emergency is another kick in the gut. Within weeks of assuming power in Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath has put on hold further payment of a monthly pension to those detained under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and Defence of India Rules (DIR) during the 21-month long state of emergency declared by then PM Indira Gandhi.
For the scores of men and women who were incarcerated for opposing the dictatorial ways of Indira Gandhi and suffered the high-handedness of Sanjay Gandhi, often said to be the architect of the Emergency, this action of MP government is akin to salt being rubbed in their wounds after being kicked to the ground once again. It is no secret that Kamal Nath was not only a part of the Nehru-Gandhi family’s inner circle but also a ‘torchbearer’ of the Emergency. His proximity to the Nehru-Gandhi family is the stuff of legends or what else would you say, when someone is referred to as the ‘third son’ of Indira Gandhi?
Besides democracy and the civil rights of citizens, the Congress today has also thwarted the basic dignity of an average Indian. It’s ironical that while Congress has been crying foul for the last four and the half years for no real reason and branding every action of law-enforcement agencies against their ‘high command’ in cases of impropriety and corruption as vendetta politics, it unabashedly and openly indulges in what it accuses others of. By cancelling the monthly pension of Rs. 25,000 under the Loknayak Jaiprakash Narayan Samman Nidhi Niyam of nearly 2000 beneficiaries that include 300 widows who get half the amount after the death of their husbands, the Congress has mocked those who went to jail for upholding democracy. In the circular that was issued to all divisional commissioners and district collectors, the M.P government put a stop on the distribution of the honorarium till the process was made ‘accurate and transparent’ but did not give any time frame by which the verification of beneficiaries has to be completed. The fact that some of the beneficiaries gave the best years of their lives and might have silently suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and, now in old age, also have to suffer such insult, is nothing but a glaring display of Congress’ audacity and authoritarianism over the aam aadmi.
Make no mistake about the intent of this action on the part of the Congress party. Nearly all top-brass across the political spectrum, be it Lalu Prasad Yadav, M.K. Stalin, Narendra Modi, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Prakash Singh Badal, Subramanian Swamy et al, were targeted and subjected to torture during the Emergency. It’s one of the darkest periods in the history of India and when the Congress and its shock troops such as Kamal Nath shrug off either the Emergency or the horrors of 1984 genocide it just shows, yet again, how it values human dignity and life.
(The views and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Republic TV/ Republic World/ ARG Outlier Media Pvt. Ltd.)