Congress in Rajasthan has decided to withdraw the allowances being given to those detained under MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act) during the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, saying that they do not consider them ‘freedom fighters’.
“The Cabinet further decided to withdraw the pension, medical facility and other allowances of the MISA, Defence of India Rule (DIR) and CrPC prisoners in the state,” said the government press release.
“Previous government had decided in favour of offering these facilities to such prisoners as per Rajasthan Loktantra Senani Samman Nidhi Niyam, 2008, which the Cabinet annulled on Monday. This decision would save about Rs. 40 crore annually,” it added. 1120 beneficiaries were getting a pension of Rs 20,000 a month, apart from some medical, transport allowances.
Addressing journalists after a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Dhariwal, the Minister for Local Self Government as well as Urban Development and Housing, said, “We don’t consider them as freedom fighters or as sentinels of democracy.” He reportedly added that they were rule breakers and hence were detained.
This is not the first state where Congress is in power that such a decision has been taken. In January, Congress in Madhya Pradesh had also suspended the MISA pension, arguing that there were many fake and ineligible beneficiaries.
However, when the decision led to an uproar in the state, the state government said the pension had not been discontinued but physical verification of beneficiaries had been ordered. The Madhya Pradesh government was forced to take back its decision and the beneficiaries in MP started receiving their pension, along with arrears since last month.
Satish Punia, Rajasthan’ BJP State President, speaking on Congress governments decision said: “There can be a no bigger example of politics of vendetta by the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government. The movement at the time of emergency was the second big movement in the country after the Independence movement, when people of all ideologies participated. The BJP government had started the pension considering the hardships faced by the families.”
Disheartening to see #MISA pension getting abandoned in #Rajasthan. Instead of taking care of people who were detained during the emergency, their pension is discontinued the second time. Condemn the decision taken by @INCIndia . Political motivation at its best. pic.twitter.com/z66ud4iwqm
— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) October 15, 2019
Meanwhile, on the other hand, the BJP government in Maharastra had last year announced a Rs 10,000 monthly pension for those jailed during the emergency. In case one was jailed for less than a month, they would be eligible for a Rs 5,000 monthly pension.
Additionally, the wives of those jailed for more than a month would receive Rs 5,000 and in the other case, they would receive Rs 2,000. As per a PTI report, the scheme would have also extended to the widows of those jailed during the 21 month period from 1975 to 1977.
As per an Asian Age report, the pension would be granted to those arrested and jailed for more than a month during the emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi led Congress government in the 70s.
In 2017, the Devendra Fadnavis led Maharashtra government had also proposed to provide a freedom fighter status to those who were jailed during the dark Emergency period, imposed by Indira Gandhi.
All the agitators were arrested in the 1970s under the draconian Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) act while protesting against the lack of democracy.
Incidentally, the Congress party had then criticised this decision by the Maharashtra government by stating that it was an insult to freedom fighters if emergency detainees are accorded the same status and respect as them.