New Delhi: Taking potshots at the Prime Minister, BJP leader LK Advani on Thursday said Manmohan Singh had
missed an opportunity at a recent programme to "distance"
himself from the atrocities inflicted on the press and the
people during the National Emergency.
Both Singh and Advani were present at a function
earlier this week to commemorate the birth centenary of Puran
Chandra Gupta, founder of the Jagran newspaper. Gupta had
stood up against the Emergency and was jailed for doing so.
A book on Gupta, which was released by the Prime
Minister at the function, mentions how he defied Emergency in
"I do not know if the PM had occasion to glance through
this book, or if any one had mentioned to him that the Jagran
editors were arrested because they had firmly opposed
"If he had been briefed about all this, he would have
done a signal service to democracy if he had referred to the
facts in his laudatory references to the Jagran founder. By
omitting to do so, he has really missed an opportunity to
distance himself from the worst assault inflicted on press
freedom in the history of independent India!" Advani said
today on his blog.
Singh had earlier expressed regret in Parliament over
the atrocities forced on Sikhs during the 1984 riots in the
aftermath of then prime minister Indira Gandhi`s
Advani, who was one of the prominent leaders jailed
during Emergency, has hit out at the Congress often on the
issue and on how even press freedom was strangled.
Advani`s jibes at Singh have come also in the wake of
the latter`s comment- made at the Jagran function- that press
freedom is a must for growth of Indian democracy.
Singh had said that no controls should be imposed on
the media and it should itself engage in self-regulation and
devise a mechanism to promote objectivity and curb
"In my opinion, there is a general consensus in our
country that no outside control should be imposed on the
media," Singh had said.