17:15 GMT05 August 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): On 25 June 1975, an "Emergency" was imposed in India by then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for 21 months, from 1975 to 1977. Imposed to curb "internal disturbances", the state of emergency led to the suspension of civil liberties, strict press censorship, and imprisonment of 160,000 political opponents.

    Indian Home Minister Amit Shah has slammed the Gandhi family on the 45th anniversary of the 1975 Emergency, rule by decree, imposed by India’s first female Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from the Congress Party.

    Shah obliquely referred to the Gandhis as "one family" and criticised it for trampling democracy. He accused them of inflicting atrocities on the poor and downtrodden.

    "On this day, 45 years ago one family’s greed for power led to the imposition of the Emergency. Overnight the nation was turned into a prison. The press, courts, free speech...all were trampled over. Atrocities were committed on the poor and downtrodden", Shah said in a tweet.

    Considered by many a dark day in the history of India, #Emergency1975HauntsIndia is trending on Twitter on Thursday.

    Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief J.P. Nadda also took to Twitter to honour those who opposed the Emergency and showed resilience.

    "India salutes all the dignitaries who, despite enduring torture, fiercely opposed the Emergency. It was the tenacity of our satyagrahis (protesters) that India's democratic values successfully won over a totalitarian mindset", said Nadda.

    Others shared newspaper clippings from 1975 and called it "tyranny, intolerance, and dictatorship in Indian democratic history". 

    Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency days after she was convicted in court for corrupt election practices and barred from contesting elections for six years.

    Then-President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed signed Article 352 of the Indian Constitution which empowers the prime minister to do what is "best" for the country. It ended when Gandhi announced general elections for the parliament's lower house Lok Sabha on 18 January 1977.

    Even though ​Indira Gandhi is still considered the stalwart of Indian politics and the Iron Lady, the Emergency blemished her image in political discourse. She is survived by her daughter-in-law and Congress Party chief Sonia Gandhi, and Sonia's two children, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra Gandhi, two key politicians in the Congress Party.

    Tags:
    authoritarian regimes, Democracy, emergency, family, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, India
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