The Madhya Pradesh government has ordered verification of those detained under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) in the 1970s to ensure only genuine people held under the law get the pension.
The order was issued on Wednesday and came days after the government stopped the pension on December 29 until the verification process is completed. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which lost power to the Congress last month in Madhya Pradesh, has opposed the move. Most people detained under the MISA in the state were associated with the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the BJP’s precursor.
The MISA gave police sweeping powers like taking people into preventive detention indefinitely to counter threats, including those to the national security in the 1970s. The law was used during the national emergency, which the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi imposed from 1975 to 1977, to suppress dissent. It was repealed in 1977 when the Congress was voted out of power.
In the order, the government has asked commissioners and collectors to have the verification of those detained under MISA or the spouses of the former detainees, who have passed away, conducted by visiting them.
The pensioners, under the scheme for those detained under MISA, get ?25,000 monthly apart from medical and other facilities, which include cremation of MISA detenues with state honour on their demise.
Tapan Bhowmick, the state president of an organisation that represents the pensioners accused the state’s Congress government of vendetta.
The former chief minister and BJP leader, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, called the order a ‘U-turn’ in a tweet on Wednesday while talking exception to it.
State Congress spokesman Santosh Gautam said “…This will weed out those among the beneficiaries, who don’t deserve to be on the list [of pensioners].”
First Published: Jan 16, 2019 23:53 IST