NEW DELHI: Remembering the horror of the Emergency on the day of imposition in 1975, the Prime minister Narendra Modi said "such a black night" cannot be forgotten, while underlined the need for ‘eternal vigilance’ to preserve democracy. Modi, in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ went ahead by saying that democracy-lovers had fought a big battle against the Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and said the pro-democracy "heritage" needs to be strengthened.
"Democracy is not only a system. It is our culture...Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," he said.
But soon after Prime Minister’s remark, Congress hits back by saying that he should remember the country is facing an "undeclared Emergency" under the BJP rule. Congress party, however, acknowledged that the Emergency, imposed on this day in 1975, "was a mistake" and said lessons have been learned.
All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesperson Tom Vadakkan alleged, "The prime minister talks of remembering the Emergency. Yes, we remember the Emergency. But we also ask him to remember we are facing an undeclared Emergency." History may repeat itself if the prime minister failed to learn from the past, he warned.
Addressing the nation through his popular radio program, PM Modi recalled imposition of the Emergency on June 25, 1975 "such a black night which cannot be forgotten by any lover of democracy. No Indian can forget that." He said that in a way, the entire nation had been converted into a prison, with opposing voices being curbed.
Congress spokesperson criticizing PM Modi by saying that "We accept the Emergency was a mistake. We have learned from it. But while reminding us of those mistakes, please learn to correct yourself. If you do not learn from history, you are bound to repeat it. The country is witnessing just that."
Modi also mentioned that that various prominent leaders like Jaiprakash Narayan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee were jailed, while PM recited a poem written by Vajpayee in Hindi.
“Even the judiciary did not remain unaffected by the shadow of the Emergency. The media was completely rendered useless," the prime minister said.
He said the students of today's journalism and those working for democracy have been remembering "that black incident" as part of their continuous efforts to create awareness about democracy . "They should be doing so," Modi said.
"The democracy lovers had fought a big battle and showed how democracy was engrained in the hearts of every citizen of the vast country. That was reflected through the elections. That is our heritage and we have to strengthen that heritage," Modi said.