Emergency: There was a Bangladesh connection behind Indira's declaration of emergency, only Sheikh Hasina and her sister were saved

Ananya Shroff
10 Min Read


New Delhi: On the morning of 15 August 1975, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi started her speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, her close friend and her age-mate Pupul Jayakar was also present in the audience. Pupul Jayakar wanted Indira to announce the withdrawal of the emergency imposed 50 days ago in her speech on 15 August, but Indira did not do anything like that. On the intervening night of 25-26 June 1975, Indira imposed internal emergency in the entire country. Let us talk today about the circumstances under which Indira imposed emergency and whether its background was the turmoil in India's neighboring country Bangladesh. Along with this, we will also know whether any government can impose emergency in today's time? What are those rules and laws due to which it is not possible to repeat the emergency.

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What happened 5 hours before Indira's Red Fort speech?

In senior journalist Sudeep Thakur's book 'Ten years: which changed the country's politics', it has been told that on 15 August 1975, five hours before Indira Gandhi's speech to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Bangladesh's founder Mujibur Rahman and his family were assassinated in Dhaka, 1867 km away from Delhi.

Senior journalist Sudeep Thakur has investigated the circumstances of 1975 in his book

Indira's friend Mujib's daughters Hasina and Rehana survived

On the night of 14 and 15 August, some young rebel army officers arrived at Mujib's house with tanks and surrounded it. The rebel army killed a total of 20 people, including Mujib, his three sons, his wife, two daughters-in-law, his brother and two servants. Mujibur Rahman's entire family was wiped out in this massacre. Only his two daughters Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana survived, who were outside Bangladesh in Germany at that time. It is a coincidence that recently Sheikh Hasina came to India on the occasion of completion of 50 years of Emergency.

These 8 people along with Indira had conspired for emergency, know what happened 4 hours before 12 o'clock that night

Mujib also imposed emergency in the country

Sudeep Thakur explains that Sheikh Mujibur was at the peak of popularity with the formation of Bangladesh. But within just two-three years, his rule was surrounded by allegations of corruption and nepotism. He himself was accused of dictatorship. Amid massive protests, Sheikh Mujibur imposed emergency in Bangladesh on 25 January 1975 and established a one-party system. When Pupul Jayakar went to meet her, Indira expressed apprehension that she and her family could also be targeted in a similar way. As Pupul Jayakar wrote quoting Indira, 'I have ignored the intelligence reports till now, but now I cannot do so.'

sheikh mujibur rahman

When the Prime Minister's residence turned into a war room

The matter worsened when Indira Gandhi won the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha elections and her victory was challenged in the Allahabad High Court. The court then declared Indira Gandhi's victory illegal and cancelled her membership. On 13 June 1975, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court on behalf of Indira Gandhi and the court was asked to stay the entire decision of the Allahabad High Court. On the other hand, the Prime Minister's residence turned into a 'war room' for political battles under the leadership of Sanjay Gandhi and his close associates.

sudeep thakur

Statements were taken from leaders in favour of Indira

When it became clear that Indira Gandhi would not resign, Sanjay and his close associates did two things. First, statements of Congress leaders were issued in favour of Indira. Second, rallies were taken out in favour of Indira at various places in the capital. On 18 June 1975, a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party was held and full faith was expressed in the leadership of Indira Gandhi. In this meeting, Congress President Devkant Barua crossed all limits of sycophancy and said – India is Indira, Indira is India.

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When JP said- Destruction is black and the opposite of wisdom

In the next few hours of that humid night of 25 and 26 June 1975, something was going to happen in the capital Delhi which was going to change the condition and direction of the country. At around 2 o'clock in the night, a police team knocked at Radhakrishna's house. The police had come to take JP with them. The police took JP to the police station on Sansad Marg. After reaching the police station, as soon as JP was told that emergency has been imposed in the country and he is being arrested, JP suddenly said, “Vinash Kale Viprit Buddhi”. This is a famous statement which today's politicians keep using from time to time. After this, personalities like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani and Nanaji Deshmukh were also arrested.

Jay Prakash Narayan

Indira government was scared of Jai Prakash Narayan's movements

The Sangh chief had written several letters to Indira

According to Sudeep Thakur, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Anand Marg, Jamaat-e-Islami and Maoist CPI (ML) were banned after the arrest of prominent leaders across the country. Sangh chief MD (Balasaheb) Deoras was also arrested from Nagpur. However, questions were raised about his role during the arrest. In fact, Deoras had written several letters to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi while being imprisoned in Pune's Yerwada Central Jail. In these letters, he had claimed that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is a cultural organization and is not involved in violence.

When the Sangh chief wrote a letter in defense of JP

Deoras wrote the first letter on 22 August 1975 after listening to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15 August. He also defended JP in the letter. Deoras had said in his letter that it is not right, it is inappropriate to call Jayaprakash Narayan a CIA agent, a partner of capitalists, a traitor. He is also a patriot. Such views have been expressed many times in your speeches.

RSS chief

Can emergency be imposed again today?

According to Supreme Court advocate Anil Singh Srinet, in today's era, an emergency like that of 50 years ago cannot be imposed. In fact, the public and social media have become so aware that the common man knows everything about his rights. At the same time, the Constitution and the Supreme Court have become so powerful that they are enough to stop the dictatorship of any one person. Today, if anyone wants, the Supreme Court can demolish that decision.

Advocate Anil Singh Srinet

Strictness on emergency in 44th constitutional amendment

Supreme Court advocate Anil Singh Srinet explains that after the end of the Emergency, the 44th Constitutional Amendment, 1978 was made. In which it was said to prevent the misuse of emergency powers of the executive. Before the 44th Amendment Act 1978, a declaration of emergency could be issued on the basis of war or external aggression or internal disturbance. Internal disturbance was vague in this and the government could misuse it. Now in the Act, the term 'armed rebellion' has been provided in place of internal disturbance, in which the President can declare an emergency only after the written recommendation of the cabinet. Apart from this-

  • Once the proclamation of emergency has been approved, parliamentary control ends. But now a special sitting of the Lok Sabha can be held to consider the disapproval.
  • Article 19 will automatically stand suspended if an emergency is declared on the ground of war or external aggression under the provisions of Article 358.
  • The Fundamental Rights under Article 20 and Article 21 cannot be suspended during an emergency under any circumstances. Earlier, when an emergency was imposed, the enforcement of any or all Fundamental Rights could be suspended.
  • Unlike in 1975, it is no longer possible for the prime minister to unilaterally decide to declare an emergency without any written explanation. A simple majority in Parliament is no longer enough to declare an emergency.
  • The 44th Amendment Act made it mandatory that a proclamation of emergency would be reviewed six months after its proclamation and in the absence of fresh parliamentary approval, the emergency would be suspended.

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