On the morning of June 25, 1975, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi took a decision whose panic echoes in India’s atmosphere to this day, and will always be present in the form of a negative and damaging decision to democracy and humanity. It was the decision of Indira Gandhi to impose an emergency in the country.
Seeing the power slipping out of her hands, Indira Gandhi announced the imposition of an emergency in the country on 25 June 1975. The reason for this decision was the decision given by the Allahabad High Court on June 12, which was also approved by the Supreme Court on June 24. Following the order of the court, instead of leaving the chair, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi decided to impose an emergency. Indira Gandhi, while giving a message to the nation on the morning of 25 June, said, “Brothers and sisters, Rashtrapatiji has declared a state of emergency. But common people need not be afraid of this”.
It was clear from Indira Gandhi’s message to the country that every person needs to be afraid except the poor, innocent common people of the country who do not have the strength to raise their voices. The orgy game of atrocities started with the declaration of Emergency. Opposition leaders, social workers, journalists, and people from all walks of life who raised their voices for democracy were subjected to atrocities under the guise of Emergency. There are such stories of atrocities during the Emergency that your soul will tremble after hearing them. One such story is of Kannada actress Snehalatha Reddy.
Snehalatha Reddy’s terrible torture
Kannada actress Snehalatha Reddy had nothing to do with Emergency, she was neither a politician nor a journalist. Her only fault was that she was a friend of George Fernandes, a socialist leader who strongly opposed the dictatorial steps of Indira Gandhi. George Fernandes was a big name among the leaders who opposed Indira Gandhi. Snehlata’s friendship with George Fernandes was overshadowed. Snehalatha Reddy was arrested on May 2, 1976, alleging her involvement in the dynamite case. The accused in the dynamite case were accused by the police of conspiring to blow up the Parliament House and its surrounding buildings with dynamite. Snehlata was imprisoned in Bangalore jail after being arrested. Later, MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act) was also imposed on Snehalatha. Under this act, she was kept in jail for 8 months. Such atrocities were committed against her in the jail, which would shock anyone’s heart.
Jail’s walls used to resonate with Snehlata’s screams
Snehlata was subjected to terrible torture in jail. She was kept in a small closet, in which a small hole was made in place of the toilet. She was not given any bed, she slept on the ground. Jail staff used to come to her cell and torture her. She was naked and beaten brutally. Sometimes she cried so loudly that the souls of the prisoners in the adjoining barracks trembled.
Snehlata had written a small diary during her captivity, she wrote-
“ As soon as a woman comes in , she is stripped naked in front of everyone else. When a person is sentenced , she is given adequate punishment. Should the human body also be humiliated ? Who is responsible for these perverted methods ? What is the purpose of human life ? Isn’t our aim to make life values even better ? Whatever be the purpose of man , he should make efforts to advance humanity. ,
Atal, Advani, and Dandwate heard her scream
During the Emergency, Jan Sangh leaders Atal Bihari Bajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani were also imprisoned in the cell next to Snehlata. Both have mentioned a woman having a loud scream. After their release from jail, they came to know that she was Kannada actress Snehalatha Reddy. At the same time, Mudh Dandawate, a socialist leader in Bangalore jail, has also mentioned Snehlata’s screams in his book.
Snehlatha Reddy dies as soon as she is released from jail
The atrocities in the prison had worsened the condition of asthma patient Snehlata. She was released on parole in January 1977. But she died 5 days after her release from jail and reached home, thus sacrificing the decision of a talented actress Indira Gandhi.