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India

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Index
  1. India Main Page
  2. British Exert Influence, Suppress Indians
  3. Gandhi Leads Challenge of British Rule
  4. Independence Soured by Partition of India and Pakistan
  5. India Supports Independence Movement That Leads to the Creation of Bangladesh
  6. Indira Gandhi's Leadership Is Challenged
  7. Indira and Rajiv Gandhi Are Gunned Down
  8. India and Pakistan Test Nuclear Weapons
  9. Kashmir Continues to Test Relationship Between India and Pakistan
  10. Electoral Upset Brings Congress Party to Power
  11. India and the U.S. Reach Deal on Nuclear Technology
  12. Terrorists Attack Landmarks in Mumbai
  13. India Tests a Long-Range Ballistic Missile
  14. Gang Rape Case Ignites National Protests
  15. Tensions Rise at Border with Pakistan
  16. Supreme Court Bans Gay Sex
  17. 2014 Election Is the World's Largest
Indira Gandhi's Leadership Is Challenged

In the summer of 1975, the world's largest democracy veered suddenly toward authoritarianism when a judge in Allahabad, Indira Gandhi's home constituency, found Gandhi's landslide victory in the 1971 elections invalid because civil servants had illegally aided her campaign. Amid demands for her resignation, Gandhi decreed a state of emergency on June 26 and ordered mass arrests of her critics, including all opposition party leaders except the Communists.

Despite strong opposition to her repressive measures, particularly resentment against compulsory birth control programs, in 1977 Gandhi announced parliamentary elections for March. At the same time, she freed most political prisoners. The landslide victory of Morarji R. Desai unseated Gandhi, but she staged a spectacular comeback in the elections of Jan. 1980.

In 1984, Gandhi ordered the Indian army to root out a band of Sikh holy men and gunmen who were using the most sacred shrine of the Sikh religion, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, as a base for terrorist raids in a violent campaign for greater political autonomy in the strategic Punjab border state. The perceived sacrilege to the Golden Temple kindled outrage among many of India's 14 million Sikhs and brought a spasm of mutinies and desertions by Sikh officers and soldiers in the army.

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