BJD, BJP demand pension for political prisoners

Bhubaneswar: Ruling BJD and opposition BJP have favoured pension to persons detained under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and the Defence of India (DIR) rules during Emergency.

The issue was raised by BJD member and former minister Amar Prasad Satpathy during the zero hour on Saturday.

He said 12 states have already made provision for pension for political prisoners of Emergency, Odisha should also implement it.

Satpathy said they were jailed while participating in ‘Save Democracy and Save Constitution’ campaign during Emergency.

“The state government has wrongly included MISA and DIR prisoners under the social security scheme of the government. They should be treated at par with the freedom fighters as these persons fought for second Independence,” he said.

Satpathy also pointed out that the ruling BJD in its election manifesto was committed to honor the political prisoners.

Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik of BJP had on Friday told the assembly that it is disappointing that the Odisha government has decided to include such prisoners under the Madhubabu Pension Yojana, a state government scheme for poor people aged over 60.

“While other states are providing pensions ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 to such political prisoners, the Odisha Government has decided to give them Rs 500 per month.

Is it respect or disrespect?” Naik had asked.