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Posted at: May 22, 2019, 7:07 AM; last updated: May 22, 2019, 7:07 AM (IST)

Emergency was avoidable: Pranab

Says it affected freedom, curbed fundamental rights to some extent
Emergency was avoidable: Pranab
Pranab Mukherjee, Former President

New Delhi, May 21

Former President Pranab Mukherjee, who worked closely with former PM Indira Gandhi, says the imposition of Emergency in 1975 could have been avoided as it curbed the rights of people.

“The Emergency is noted in the context of certain misrules. Emergency, in generic terms, is a constitutional provision. Articles 352, 353, 354 to 356 are provisions that deal with an emergency situation,” Mukherjee said in an interview published in book “Defining India: Through Their Eyes”.

The book is a compilation of interviews with various leaders from different fields. According to the book, Mukherjee gave the interview in November 2018. Mukherjee, a veteran Congress leader who rose to become the President in 2012, said the impact of the declaration of Emergency by Parliament curbed the fundamental rights of the people to some extent.

“That was the adverse impact. Freedom was affected. So, when we talk of the Emergency, we refer particularly to the abuse of emergency powers that curb freedom,” the Bharat Ratna awardee said.

The former union minister, who worked closely with a number of PMs in the Congress governments, said when the BJP says Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency in June 1975, they mean during the Emergency for 13 months, there were a lot of curtailments of people’s rights.

“When the Congress talks of an ‘Emergency-like’ situation today, they mean that without declaring Emergency, the rights of individuals are being curbed. But this is a political battle in which I do not want a part. In hindsight, yes, the Emergency could have been avoided. It would have been better if it could have been avoided,” he said. — IANS

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