Emergency: JP Movement veterans have Samajwadi Party to thank for pensions
More than 6000 residents of Uttar Pradesh who were arrested under the maintenance of internal security act (MISA) (DIR) have received a monthly pension, free medical care and free bus travel throughout the state since 2006, when Samajwadi President Mulayam Singh Yadav had them declared Lokktantra rakshak senani.
A Jayaprakash Narayan supporter who was himself jailed during the emergency, Mulayam awarded the fighters for democracy the benefits, which included a monthly pension of first 500 and later 1000 rupees per month, in 2006. But soon after it came into effect, the Mayawati government discontinued the program in 2007.
When Mulayam’s son, Akhilesh Yadav, took power as chief minister in 2012, however, he restored the scheme and increased the pension money to Rs 10,000 per month.
The chief minister has repeatedly said that those went to jail during emergency were real heroes as they risked their lives so that present generation could live in peace. Many leaders of the JP movement in Uttar Pradesh have expressed their gratitude.
Loktantra Senani Vijay Narain, who was involved in Baroda dynamite case with George Fernandez and journalist K Vikram Rao and socialist thinker Kamlesh, says the scheme rightly recognized the contribution made by thousands of persons who were jailed during emergency.
Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajender Choudhry, who was also arrested during the emergency, said that more than 6000 persons have been awarded pensions under the scheme.
One such beneficiary is former student leader of BHU Shusheel Pande, who was a member of the Yuva Sangarsh Vahini. He was arrested from BHU hostel the day emergency was imposed and behind bars with two other persons for several months.
Similarly, prominent political expert Ramesh Dixit, now a retired Lucknow University professor, still remembers how he was arrested from Jawaharlal Nehru University campus with his friend Sohail Hashmi. Also arrested were Girijesh Pant, who became vice-chancellor of Garhwal University; Gyan Prakash, who later became a historian. They all were arrested two days after emergency was imposed after police gheraoed the hotel, Dixit said.
Dixit had been involved with the JP movement since its beginning, and was part of the 13-member committee of Chhatra Yuva Sangarsh Vahini set by JP himself. He had been with the CPM and was doing research when he was arrested.
Dixit said that all those had been arrested were lodged with Tihar jail for two or three months and later released.
Satyadeo Tripathi remembers the emergency
Satyadeo Tripathi, who had been president of the Lucknow University Student union, was All India president of Samajwadi Yuvjan Sabha (SYS) when the emergency was declared in 1975. He presided over the biggest ever meeting of Jaya Prakash Narayan supporters in Lucknow.
The day emergency was declared he attended the meeting addressed by Jaya Prakash Narayan at Ramlila maidan in New Delhi and then went to a coffee house in Connaught Place with Markanday Singh, a student leader and former Benares Hindu University student union president. The two of them decided to visit the house of erstwhile freedom fighter Raj Narain, a close JP associate and fellow alumnus of BHU, but could not enter as there was police force to arrest him.
“Then we decided to visit Chandra Shekhar at South Avenue, where we met general secretary Bhramanand, who was also editor of Young India magazine,” Tripathi told Hardnews. “Chandrasekhar also joined us and offered coffee. Then came the news that JP had been arrested and was taken to Parliament Street thana.”
Chandrashekhar was keen to go to the police station to meet JP, and the others went with him. When they reached the station, the police immediately arrested Chandrashekhar. But Tripathi and Singh managed to avoid a similar fate and went underground, arranging to meet senior leaders Gauri Shankar Rai, Satpal Malik and KC Tiyagi and travel to Rajasthan with them. As soon as they returned, they learned that the renowned Bihar leader, Karpoori Thakur, needed help arranging his escape to Nepal, Tripathi said.
“When I met Karpoori Thakur he was looking like a Maulana with long beard so that nobody should recognize,” he recalled. We boarded the train for Lucknow where we stayed at the residence of a senior journalist whose house was close to Charbagh railway station.”
After staying with Lucknow-based journalist without facing any problem, Tripathi and Thakur boarded the train for Bhairwan, from where there was direct flight for Nepal. They managed to avoid detection, and Thakur boarded flight and escaped.
But when Tripathi reached Charbagh railway railway station the next day, he found the police waiting to arrest him. He spent the next three four months in Lucknow jail before he was moved to Itawah, where was kept with Mulayam Singh Yadav, Arjun Singh Bhadauria, MP. He was released on February 10, 1977.