Raj govt discontinues pension to detainees under MISA

Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot (PTI Photo)

The Congress government in Rajasthan, led by Ashok Gehlot, has decided to discontinue the pension scheme that was given to the leaders detained under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) or their widows during Emergency.

In a cabinet meeting presided by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, it was decided to discontinue the pension to detainees under MISA, announced minister Shanti Dhariwal. Speaking to the media, Dhariwal said that the government cannot consider prisoners arrested under MISA as freedom fighters.

Thousands of people remained arrested from 1975 -1977 under MISA as well as Defence of India Rules and were getting pension of Rs 20,000 and medical allowance of Rs 4,000. Most of these leaders were from the BJP and the RSS. However, the medical benefits being given to them will continue.

The BJP government has criticised the Congress government for discontinuing this facility. "The Congress government is spreading politics of hatred. People have sacrificed during the Emergency. The BJP government had hailed the idea of Atal Bihari Vajpayee to state governments, including the Rajasthan government under BJP rule to give them pension benefits. But now Congress has revoked it".

The previous government had decided in favour of offering these facilities to such prisoners as per Rajasthan Loktantra Senani Samman Nidhi Niyam, 2008, which the Cabinet annulled on Sunday. This decision would save about Rs 40 crore annually.

The other major decision taken in the cabinet meeting was to conduct indirect elections for the post of mayor and chairperson in corporations and municipalities in the state. Now Ward councilors will now elect the mayors once again.

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