HP Assembly passes Bill giving honorarium to people jailed during National Emergency

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Shimla, Mar 20 (PTI) The Himachal Pradesh Assembly on Saturday passed a Bill giving honorarium to people from the state who were imprisoned for social or political reasons during the National Emergency imposed in 1975.

Eighty-one beneficiaries, called “Loktantra Prahris”, have so far been identified and they will be given Rs 8,000 in case of imprisonment up to 15 days. Those who spent over 15 days will be given Rs 12,000, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said introducing the Himachal Pradesh Loktantra Prahri Samman Bill, 2021. The CM said during the Emergency period from June 25, 1975 to March 21, 1977, several people fought for the protection of the fundamental rights and safeguarding the democracy.

The state government has decided to give an honorarium to those who actively participated in the protection of democracy and went to jails. Spouses of the deceased “Loktantra Prahris” will also be eligible for the honorarium, he added. Thakur said a committee will be constituted to consider the claims of the applicants. A person who has been punished by a court on charges of moral turpitude will be ineligible for the honorarium, he said.

During a discussion on the Bill, Congress MLA Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu suggested that people who were imprisoned during the Emergency for vandalism should not be given the honorarium.

Sukhu demanded that the term “Loktantra Prahri” should be changed as it is a wider term which also includes people such as RTI activists and journalists.

He also alleged that only people associated with the BJP will be given the honorarium.

Thakur replied that the BJP was not in existence in 1975 and people from various ideological backgrounds, including journalists, who raised their voice against it will be given the honorarium, if eligible.

During the period of the Emergency, democracy in our country was crushed, he said, adding that several states such as Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra have enacted similar laws to honour those who spoke up against it. PTI DJI RDK RDK