• Short Summary

    India's Janata Party government is facing an embarrassing backlash and criticism over its prosecution of corruption and misuse of official power charges against former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

  • Description

    SV: Mrs. Gandhi speaking to BBC reporter.

    TULLY: "Mrs Gandhi, now that you have been released by the magistrate, do you still insist that your arrest was a political act."

    GANDHI: "The motivation behind the arrest and the charges is definitely political had its proved by the Home Minister's statement."

    TULLY: "What do you mean by that?"

    GANDHI: "The whole statement is a political statement."

    TULLY: "In what way".

    GANDHI: "Well I can't, I haven't got it here with me. But, if you read it, it's obvious. He's referred mostly to the emergency and so on."

    TULLY: "Mrs Gandhi, you said very often recently that there's a lot of repression in this country, but it doesn't seem to me that a repressed magistrate would have let you out, free today, as he did."

    GANDHI: "I didn't say the magistrate was repressed. It's largely the poor people and some of the repressed are known to be Congressmen who have lost their jobs. And other reports, for instance, just now we are having trouble between (indistinct) two sects of Moslems and it's hardly reported in the Press the number of killings and also many Hindus are killed. Some of the shootings are by the police. But there's a lot of news that just can't get into the Press."

    TULLY: "Why did you refuse bail last night. The Home Minster has indicated that you tried to make a drama out of your arrest for your own publicity."

    GANDHI: "The drama was in my arrest. There was no other drama. And I had announced before publicly that I would not take bail so that was not any news."

    TULLY: "Do you regard the case against you now as being over."

    GANDHI: "Not at all."

    TULLY: "So the case will continue."

    GANDHI: "Of course."

    TULLY: "Could you tell me what your plans are now Mrs Gandhi, do you intend....do you intend to go on speaking and trudging around the country."

    GANDHI: "That's right. Wherever I am invited."

    TULLY: "Mrs Gandhi could you tell me, what is the intention behind all this travelling and all this speaking and the publicity which you have been getting. Do you intend making some sort of a comeback?"

    GANDHI: "Look, I think you people have your own language. I don't know what comeback means. I have never left politics, so there's no question of coming back to it."

    TULLY: "But at present you hold no political office, you hold...

    GANDHI: "I don't think political office has anything to do with political work, at least in this country we don't regard it so."

    TULLY: "But you're not even a member of parliament, do you intend to stand for Parliament."

    GANDHI: "No, I do not."

    TULLY: "Do you intend to seek for office within your own party."

    GANDHI: "Probably not."

    TULLY: "Well, why are you not returning in a more orthodox way to public life. Why are you going on with these meetings without going....."

    GANDHI: "This is and orthodox Congress way. This is the traditional Congress way which we have followed since before Independence."

    A government writ challenging Mrs Gandhi's unconditional release is still to be heard by the New Delhi High court. It argues that the magistrate had no jurisdiction to order Mrs Gandhi's release, and said she should have been remanded in custody or freed on bail pending further proceedings. Leading Indian newspapers have attacked the government for its handling of the affair. The Times of Indian commented that her release had 'seriously undermined the credibility of the government in the eyes of the public."

    Initials RH/0305

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: India's Janata Party government is facing an embarrassing backlash and criticism over its prosecution of corruption and misuse of official power charges against former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Her arrest and subsequent release have sparked major demonstrations of support throughout the country. Some political observers believe the Home Ministry's move against Mrs Gandhi was ineptly handled. Meanwhile, Mrs Gandhi has talked to BBC reporter Mark Tully about the incident.

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