Bhopal: The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh has discontinued the decade-long practice of felicitating those detained during the Emergency on Independence Day, said reports on Wednesday. (Also read: Congress in MP Working to Secure Its Position in Assembly)

All the detentions were made under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and Defence of India Rules (DIR) during Emergency.

The practice of felicitating Emergency detainees was started in 2008 by the then BJP government. A monthly pension of Rs 6,000 was also fixed for MISA and DIR detainees. Later, the government hiked the pension twice to make it Rs 25,000, on par with the pension given to freedom fighters.

This pension was put on hold two weeks after Chief Minister Kamal Nath took oath in December 2018. The Congress government also ordered physical verification of beneficiaries as it felt that many of them did not even exist while others had availed the benefit fraudulently.

However, a leading daily pointed out, after months of verification, most beneficiaries started getting the pension again.

Flaying the state government for its decision, the BJP has asked its district units to hold the felicitation in their offices instead. “It’s the politics of revenge. The Kamal Nath government has a problem honouring people who are very old. It does not have a problem with the Emergency or letting Article 370 continue in Kashmir,” Jabalpur MP and state BJP chief Rakesh Singh told a leading daily.

“It’s a decision taken out of vengeance. We will not go to them with a request to felicitate us,” said Tapan Bhowmik, state chief of Loktantra Senani Sangathan, the state-level body of MISA and DRI detainees.

In response, Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza alleged that most of the MISA and DIR detainees were BJP workers who did not go to jail at the time. “The BJP government had started the pension and felicitation to oblige them. One can understand the felicitation of freedom fighters and their family on August 15,” she added.