Maharashtra Congress objects to pension for people jailed during Emergency
Congress says the pension scheme is an attempt to ‘co-opt’ the RSS and ensure that its members are entitled to public money
Mumbai: The Congress in Maharashtra has objected to the pension scheme announced by the Devendra Fadnavis government for those who had been jailed during Emergency from 1975 to 1977.
The scheme was a “gross insult to those genuine freedom fighters who fought against the British rule”, Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan said on Thursday.
“There cannot be any comparison whatsoever between the freedom fighters and those who were imprisoned during Emergency. This has been done at the behest of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which had no role in the freedom struggle. On the contrary, the RSS tried to appease the British rulers. This is dishonouring the freedom fighters,” Chavan said.
The Fadnavis government on Wednesday finalised a scheme it had conceived soon after it came to power to give a monthly pension of Rs10,000 to those who were jailed for more than a month for opposing the imposition of Emergency during 1975-77 by the then Congress government led by Indira Gandhi. The scheme provides for Rs5,000 per month pension to those who were in jail for less than a month. Other BJP-ruled states such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Uttarakhand have already announced a similar scheme.
Chavan said the scheme was not only an insult to the freedom fighters but also represented a complete travesty of historical facts and records. “The fact is that the then RSS Sarsanghachalak Balasaheb Deoras not only extended support to Emergency but even apologised on behalf of the RSS. If this is what the record says, how can the government compare the freedom struggle with Emergency and accord the same status of freedom fighters to RSS members?” Chavan asked at a press conference.
Congress leader and former Rajya Sabha MP Bhalchandra Munagekar said that the scheme was clearly an attempt to “co-opt” the RSS and ensure that its members are entitled to public money. “The scheme is only aimed at giving money to some RSS members when their chief had extended support to the Emergency and even tendered an apology to get the ban on the RSS lifted,” Munagekar said.
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