Fadnavis govt planning on giving ‘freedom fighter status’ to those jailed during Emergency

The Devendra Fadnavis led Maharashtra government may bring in a proposal to provide a freedom fighter status to those who were jailed during the dark Emergency period, imposed by Indira Gandhi. This was revealed by CM Fadnavis himself, after BJP leader Eknath Khadse raised a query in this regard in the state legislative assembly.

Khadse commented that there were many those who fought for the protection of democracy during emergency, in a similar way freedom fighters fought for the independence of the nation. He then asserted that, they (those jailed during emergency) are no less custodians of democracy, hence they should be rewarded appropriately.

Fadnavis replied that, the Maharashtra government was considering providing such a status to those jailed during emergency, and would take an appropriate decision regarding the same during a cabinet meeting next year.

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He claimed that information has been sought from every district regarding this proposal, and such measures have already been taken about six-seven states of the country.

Maharashtra might provide such a status to those detained under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA), and those eligible might get benefits accorded to freedom fighters, which includes a pension.

As per reports, the governments which currently provide such benefits include, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Madhya Pradesh does indeed seem to provide such benefits to “Emergency detainees” as this March, the MP government hiked their honorarium to Rs 25,000 per month from Rs 15,000. These measures were started by the Shivraj government in 2008 under the Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan Honorarium Rules.

While hiking this honorarium, the Minister of state (MoS) for general administration department (GAD), informed that the state calls these detainees as “Loktantra Senani” (Democracy warriors) and they number a total of 2,604 in the state.

Such a status for the emergency detainees seems to be a regular demand.

It was reported that in February, an event was organised by Bharat Suraksha Samithi and Lokthantra Senani Sangh, in Vijayawada to demand a freedom fighter status for these detainees. This meeting was also attended by  Telangana Home Minister Naini Narsimha Reddy, who described that the emergency protesters (including him) fought against suppression, freedom of press, and human rights violation. 

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