NATIONAL

BJP seeks Cong. apology for Emergency

NEW DELHI JUNE 26. It was a day when the Bharatiya Janata Party remembered the Emergency declared by the Indira Gandhi Government in 1975, and while the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, praised the "vibrant democracy'' here which helped the country come out of the dark days, the party general secretary, Pramod Mahajan, demanded that the Congress apologise to the people for what it had done.

Talking about democracy at a party function here today, Mr. Advani said the United States must differentiate between the Government and the people in a "vibrant democracy'' like India. "Even if the (Indian) Government were to understand (the American position) in relation to cross-border terrorism in India, the people do not. How can those who fight global terrorism be on the side of those (Pakistan) who sponsor terrorism?''

The BJP president, Venkaiah Naidu, said it was important to remember the time when an attempt was made to derail democracy and more important to strengthen it.

Mr. Mahajan said the BJP was right to remember the imposition of Emergency on this country 28 years ago. "Till the Congress apologises for the Emergency we cannot trust them not to do it again,'' he said.

While Mr. Mahajan criticised the Congress, he admitted that in the RSS a prayer was said for "Hindu Rashtra'', but the Congress perhaps believed in "Indu Rashtra'', a reminder of the time when Congressmen equated India with Indira and Indira with India.

Mr. Advani recalled the days when the press was censored, when it was impossible to get information on who had been arrested and in which jail they had been lodged.

It was important for every Indian to be aware of what happened during those days, important for their political education. But, he said, many young boys and girls know very little about what happened between June 1975 and the Lok Sabha elections in 1977.

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