She offered several silly reasons to justify her decision. Let’s take a look at two of them.
“Gods have entrusted the destiny of India in the hands of Indira Gandhi.” Such statements were used by Congress workers while defending the unchallengeable powers allotted by Mrs. Gandhi to herself when she attacked democracy by declaring the emergency in 1975. She offered several silly reasons to justify her decision. Let’s take a look at two of them.
Information about possible internal and external threat to India
On several occasions, Indira Gandhi had claimed that she had received credible information regarding a security threat to the country. Gandhi claimed there was a widespread, deep conspiracy planned against the government.
Thus, it was necessary for her to give herself great powers and to put every politician as well as citizen opposing the emergency in jail. People’s right to approach the court against the government was taken away. Even peaceful and non-violent protesters were locked in prisons and tortured.
“Opposition leaders who were against my policies were planning to surround my house. They were going to surround the parliament and obstruct the functioning of Lok Sabha. Thus, it was necessary to act against them,” said the former prime minister while interacting with a British journalist.
The special inquiry commission called Shah Commission was set up during the Morarji Desai Government’s tenure to investigate if Indira Gandhi had misused her powers during the emergency period. This investigation blew the lid off and exposed Gandhi’s intentions behind suppressing democracy between 1975 and 1977. It pointed out that Gandhi did not receive any information about possible internal and external security threat to the country before the emergency. Security agencies had not passed any information to Gandhi and her claims regarding the same were false.
Information about how newspapers may obstruct the introduction of social and economic changes
Indira had restricted media from reporting on speeches of MPs and other politicians. Nothing else, other than data sent by ministers, was allowed to be published. She justified the complete removal of the freedom of the press in India by claiming that it needs to be done to defend India from collapsing. According to her, newspapers created obstructions for the government when it was introducing economic and social changes.
Congress used All India Radio for spreading party’s propaganda, several journalists who wrote against the government landed in jail, and licenses of such newspapers got canceled.
Later, Shah Commission pointed out in their findings that curbing the freedom of the press was not necessary for Indira Gandhi and there were no possible threats from newspapers.
It was done to keep the public in ignorance, to instill fear in them, and suppressing dissent in every form coming from the common man, politicians, parliament members, and even from the judicial system. This helped Gandhi in news management, aimed at thought control of the population.
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