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Legendary K D Sethi dies at 93

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He was last surviving member of J&K Constituent Assembly; from Left to Right to Centre, demise condoled widely

Jammu: K D Sethi, who was the last surviving member of the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly, passed away at his residence here on Thursday. He was 93.

Sethi was a member of the Constituent Assembly — a body of representatives elected in 1951 — which framed the Constitution of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Constituent Assembly was dissolved on January 26, 1957.

Born in Mirpur, Pakistan-administered-Kashmir, on January 01, 1928, Sethi was a popular leader. He had migrated to Jammu in 1946.

Sethi, who strongly batted for the resolution of the Kashmir issue, served as the state general secretary of the Democratic Conference.

He represented the Nowshera Assembly segment of Rajouri district.

Sethi is survived by a son and a daughter — both bureaucrats in Jammu and Kashmir.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha expressed grief over the demise of Sethi.

“Saddened by the passing away of Krishan Dev Sethi, Ex MLA #Nowshera & father of Law Secretary J&K, Achal Sethi. He was also the last surviving member of J&K Constituent Assembly,” Sinha said in a tweet.

Expressing his condolences, National Conference president Dr. Farooq Abdullah said: “Late Sethi Ji was among many who gave intellectual leadership to his people when Jammu and Kashmir was undergoing a change from feudalism to democracy. He also lent immense support to the political movement started by Sher-e-Kashmir by giving his intellectual support, discussing the themes as socialism, secularism and democracy in his write-ups.

“He was the last of the titans who under the leadership of Sheikh Sahib had ushered in an era of democracy in Jammu and Kashmir. An ace writer, his critiques of the policies of government were insightful of his commitment towards democracy and understanding of politics. I pay my earnest tributes to him. I take this opportunity to express my sympathies with the bereaved family members of his. May the departed soul be blessed with eternal repose,” Abdullah said.

PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti remembered Sethi as a fatherly figure.

“Deeply saddened to know of Sethi sahab’s demise. I was hoping to see him in Jammu. He treated me like a daughter & will always be an integral part of my childhood. Will miss his wisdom & guidance,” she tweeted.

J&K Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone said that Krishna Dev Sethi was a man of strong convictions, uncompromising on his principles and an ardent believer in peace. He will be remembered for his vision, uprightness and selfless services he has rendered to people.

In his condolence message Lone said that “Mr. KD Sethi was one of pioneers of leftist politics in J&K, a loved leader and a passionate speaker. He was a liberal to the core. He will be greatly missed.”

“Sorry to hear about the demise of Jb Krishan Dev Sethi. He was the last surviving member of the Constituent Assembly of J&K and a former MLA. My condolences to his family & prayers for the eternal rest of his soul,” said NC vice-president Omar Abdullah.

Member of Parliament (NC) Hasnain Masoodi in his condolence message called Sethi a symbol of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh unity, autonomy, and territorial integrity.

While paying tributes to the departed leader, Masoodi recalled the rich contribution made by him in making of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. The departed leader called it “flag of peasants and workers”, representing the ideals cherished by the people and cautioned the people that “reactionary elements are there who try to pull down this flag and to face such elements sacrifices are even now required.”

He said that Sethi Saheb was a great supporter of the Delhi Agreement 1952 and called it “beacon of light for the people of Jammu and Kashmir State and progressive forces of India.”

CPI(M) leader Mohamad Yousuf  Tarigami  described late Sethi as an icon of progressive and secular politics in J&K.

He said Sethi was till yesterday the only surviving member of the J&K Constituent Assembly and witness of the sequence of political events which led to the legal provisions for the preservation of unique identity and dignity of the people of J&K.

“Alongwith the other stalwarts of the Left leaders  like Ram Piara  Saraf, Dhanventri,Raja Akbar, Sardar Bodha Singh,Abdul Satar  Ranjoor, Abdul  Kabir Wani, G M Malik and others, Sethi Sahab conceived the idea of ‘Naya Kashmir’ and made the scientist slogan of land to the tiller a reality. This revolutionary reform was the first of its kind in the entire subcontinent. Alongwith his comrades late Sethi relentlessly defended the constitutional guarantees provided for the maintenance of J&K’s special status. He was against the commercialised politics of the present-day ruling class, Tarigami said.

Tarigami recalled Sethi’s contribution as an intellectual, journalist of integrity and writer. He affirmed that the best way to pay tribute to the deported leader was to unite and to carry on the mission for which he devoted his entire life.

Apni Party president Mohammad Altaf Bukhari also expressed grief over the demise of the veteran leader and said he was a versatile politician and an intellectual.

Bukhari said that Sethi was a well-known writer and thinker who had witnessed various historical political events that happened in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Sethi Ji will be remembered for his promptness, erudition and revealing historical accounts whose heart remained always beating for his native land. Losing such a stalwart personality is a great loss for the people of J&K. I pray for peace to the departed soul and extend my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family,” he said.

Expressing sorrow over the demise of Sethi, J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) vice-president and former MLC G N Monga today said he was a strong pillar of secularism.

“His death has left a void that will be long felt in the political and social arena of Jammu and Kashmir.”

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