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LS Speaker’s resolution on Emergency triggers opposition protests

New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Wednesday read out a resolution condemning the imposition of Emergency and termed the decision by then prime minister Indira Gandhi an attack on the Constitution, triggering a wave of protests by the opposition in the House.

Birla’s reference to the Emergency, shortly after his election as Lok Sabha speaker, also saw a face-off between the government and the opposition in the first session of the lower house.

“This House strongly condemns the decision to impose Emergency in 1975. We appreciate the determination of all those people who opposed the Emergency, fought and fulfilled the responsibility of protecting India’s democracy,” Birla said amid vociferous protests by opposition parties.

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Opposition MPs, including from the Congress, were on their feet, raising slogans against the reference to the Emergency.

“June 25, 1975 will always be known as a black chapter in the history of India. On this day, then prime minister Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency in the country and attacked the Constitution made by Babasaheb Ambedkar,” the speaker said.

Birla said India was known all over the world as the mother of democracy.

“Democratic values ​​and debate have always been supported in India. Democratic values ​​have always been protected, they have always been encouraged. Indira Gandhi imposed dictatorship on such an India. The democratic values ​​of India were crushed and freedom of expression was strangled,” Birla said.

He said the rights of Indian citizens were crushed and their freedom snatched away.

“Those were the times when opposition leaders were jailed, the entire nation was turned into a prison. The then dictatorial government had put several restrictions on the media and there was restraint on the autonomy of judiciary,” Birla said.

The speaker urged members to observe silence for a while and later adjourned the proceedings for the day.

Soon after the House was adjourned for the day, BJP members staged protests by waving placards and raising slogans outside Parliament.

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