At time, when there is a mad race among old Congressmen and others to prove themselves as freedom fighters to get the pension and other benefits under various government schemes, there is a band of devoted Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh workers, who have declined to accept any financial benefit for being in jail under Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) for opposing Emergency in 1975.
As a gesture, Vasundhara Raje government recently announced a pension scheme for those who were in jail under MISA during Emergency.
Under the scheme, those who were in jail for more than three months, would get a monthly pension between Rs 3,000 and Rs 6,000 depending on their jail period. During Emergency, when a ban on RSS was imposed, a large number of RSS functionaries were arrested. Many were arrested for opposing the Emergency and banning Sangh. Though there were many leaders of the then Jana Sangh and Socialist Party among the arrested, the number of RSS swayamsevaks was the highest among MISA detainees. When some RSS swayamsevaks received letters or cheques of the pension, they immediately informed the RSS functionaries. Without loss of time, they were advised not to accept this financial help. Kshetra Pracharak Shri Sureshji said swayamsevaks opposed the Emergency as it was aimed at to take away the civil rights and was against the spirit of democracy. ?The act of the swayamsevaks was a kind of service to the nation and not to receive any financial gains out of it?, he added.
Soon after lifting of the Emergency, when Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat became Chief Minister of Janata Party government in the state, he wanted to give some benefits to those who were jailed for no wrongs of their. They and their families were made to suffer. He then came out with a similar kind of scheme. Shri Radhakrishan Rastogi, then a senior RSS functionary, met Shri Shekhawat and politely told him no swayamsevak was going to accept this money. On his directive many those who had received the drafts, immediately returned it to the government.
?The pension is meant for MISA detainees and many of them have been died during these thirty years and only few of them are alive. If they manage to live without government money in these thirty years, they could manage even it now?, says editor of Pathey Kan.
Under the new scheme for MISA detainees, other than monthly pension, they are also entitled for medical and certain other benefits. Since many of those who are surviving are very old, they are not averse to take some of the medical benefits. But most feel that instead of giving financial benefits, government should honour them publicly for their fight against a regime, which was bent upon to take away the civil rights, provided under the Constitution.
Some sawayamsevaks have taken the initiative to organise a conference of the living MISA detainees to formally oppose this pension scheme.