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Small-screen sizzlers: Kajol & Ajay

19:04 PM September 9, 2006

Lucknow: Adding another populist measure to his kitty, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav on Saturday gave pension cheques to 5,642 people who were detained during Emergency in the 70s. A state of Emergency was declared by former prime minister Indira Gandhi on June 26, 1975 to pre-empt attacks by the oppostion parties. Indira Gandhi called out the police and the Army to break up strikes and protests and ordered the arrest of all opposition leaders. Bestowing the status of freedom fighters on those jailed during the emergency, Yadav said they were Loktantra Senani (Fighters for Democracy) and handed over cheques of Rs 500 each to them. "These are the forgotten heroes who suffered at the hands of a dictatorial regime that decided to crush all democratic values not only by imposing emergency, but also by arresting those who dared to raise their voice against draconian laws such as Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and Defence of India Rules (DIR)," he told the gathering amid cheers. "Besides the pension, they will also be also entitled to free treatment in all government hospitals of the state," he announced. The state will issue identity cards to each beneficiary.

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