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'Wasn't given parole to meet ailing mother, could not...': Rajnath Singh recalls Emergency, hits out at Opposition

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said his mother was in a Varanasi hospital for 27 days but he was not allowed to go. "People tried that I am released for some time so that I could meet my mother..was not given (parole)," he said.

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'Wasn't given parole to meet ailing mother, could not...': Rajnath Singh recalls Emergency, hits out at Opposition
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
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Hitting out at the opposition over its accusations of "undeclared emergency" under the BJP-led government, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has recalled the arrests during the Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi government, stating that he was jailed for eighteen months, was not even granted parole to visit his ailing mother and could not attend her last rites. 

In an interview with ANI, Rajnath rejected opposition accusations and said, "those who imposed dictatorship through Emergency, they accuse us of being dictatorial".

Rajnath Singh, who is a former BJP chief and was Union Home Minister from 2014 to 2019, said he was made convenor for Mirzapur-Sonbhadra during the JP Movement against Emergency which was imposed in June 1975 and continued till March 1977. "I was jailed as we were opposing Emergency. We used to agitate. We created awareness among people, how Emergency is dangerous and reflects dictatorial tendency," he said.

Rajnath Singh, who was about 24 years old when the Emergency was imposed, said there was no commotion at his home when police came to arrest him. "I was newly married and had returned home after working the whole day. I was told the police had come. They told me there is a warrant. It was around midnight and was taken to jail. I was kept in solitary confinement," he said. 

Rajnath Singh said their morale was high and they raised slogans in the compound against the Emergency. He said people from several political parties were arrested.

"Our morale was high. I used to raise slogans and around 250 people in the compound responded. We raised the slogan, "taanashahi nahi chalegi," he said. "No books were provided, there was a brass utensil in which daal (cooked pulse) was given and chappati given in our hands. We were allowed to go out within the compound for some time... Maybe I had a good temperament so I was kept in jail for so long (laughs). When I was being transferred from Mirzapur Jail to Naini Central Jail, there were several policemen at the platform. My mother was also there and told me, whatever happens, do not apologise...(hearing that) police people started crying," he added.

Rajnath Singh said when a year passed, his mother asked if he would be released and his cousin told her that Emergency has been extended by another year. "She suffered a brain haemorrhage on learning this, she was in hospital for 27 days and died, I could not come, ...I did not get released, did not get parole. I got my head shaved in the jail, the last rites were performed by my brothers I could not reach...and imagine they make allegations of dictatorship against us, they do not look within," he added. 

Rajnath Singh said his mother was in a Varanasi hospital for 27 days but he was not allowed to go. "People tried that I am released for some time so that I could meet my mother..was not given (parole)," he said.

Rajnath Singh said he got parole on an issue for some days after a few months of his mother's demise. "But I was again sent to jail as I started mobilising people against Emergency. Parole had not ended but I was sent (back to jail)." 

Opposition parties have accused the government of misusing probe agencies against them and have often alleged there is an "undeclared emergency" in the country. Congress in its manifesto for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls has said that India's democracy has "been reduced to an empty shell" and every institution, "including Parliament, is perceived to have lost its independence and become subservient to the executive government". 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DNA staff and is published from ANI)

READ | Haryana principal arrested after 6 students die in deadly bus accident, school asked why it was open on Eid

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