Krishan Dev Sethi the last surviving member of J&K Constituent Assembly passes away

LG, his advisors, top mainstream leaders, Ors condole Sethi’s demise

Jammu, Srinagar : Comrade Krishan Dev Sethi, the last surviving member of the Constituent Assembly of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state, breathed his last on Thursday morning. He was 93. Born in Mirpur on January 1, 1928, Sethi was a popular leader there. He also remained state general secretary of the Democratic Conference. He was one of the members of the Constituent Assembly from 1951-57 and played a key role in making Sheikh Abdullah, the then Prime Minister of the erstwhile state, bring land reforms abolishing big land holdings, besides waiving off all the debts people owed to money lenders at that time.Sethi in 1957 got elected from Nowshera assembly constituency which was then spread over to the present Kalakote assembly constituency in the erstwhile Jammu Kashmir state as a nominee of the Democratic National Conference, a splinter group of the National Conference headed by GM Sadiq.
While Sadiq joined Congress in 1961, Sethi remained with DNC and again contested the assembly elections from Nowshera in 1962 as well. According to elderly people of the area, he was first declared winner by the then Returning Officer and within 15 minutes, he was shown to have lost the election to his rival Master Beli Ram of Congress.Alleging “alteration’’ of the election results by the then Returning Officer under pressure from the Centre, Sethi formed Democratic Conference along with Ram Piara Saraf, another communist leader who was then influenced by Naxal movement in India and who too had lost the election in Jammu division. The new party had affiliation with CPI(ML).Sethi and Saraf both went underground, but after some time, former fell apart with Saraf saying that armed resistance had no role in Jammu and Kashmir as the land reforms making peasants its lawful owners had already been introduced there.
Chief Secretary B VR Subrahmanyam and leaders across the political spectrum has condoled his demise.
National Conference Party President, Member of Parliament from Srinagar Dr Farooq Abdullah, Vice President Omar Abdullah and another Member Parliament Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi have expressed profound grief over the demise of Krishan Dev Sethi, the last surviving member of the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, who left for heavenly abode Thursday in the morning.
The Party President in his condolence message 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. Party Vice President Omar Abdullah in his condolence message said, “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.” Member of Parliament Hasnain Masoodi in his condolence message called Late Kishen Dev Sethi as 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 the great leader 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.” He always stood for oppressed and disempowered and no one could have defended the land reforms and opposed the payment of compensation to the holders of big estates as effectively as was done by Late Sethi.
Condoling the demise of Krishan Dev Sethi the PDP President and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti termed his sad demise as an irreparable loss to the state and its people. “I am deeply saddened to know of Sethi sahab’s demise. His demise is a huge loss to all of us and this void can not be filled. He treated me like a daughter & will always be an integral part of my childhood memories. Will miss his wisdom & guidance ,” she said.
Condoling Sethi’s demise President J&K Apni Party Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari termed Sethi 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 heart-felt condolences to the bereaved family,” Bukhari said.
Condoling Sethi’s demise Chairman Peoples Democratic Front Hakeem Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen described him a legendary politician , a treasure of knowledge and philosophy with deep conviction and understanding of secularism.” “Late Sethi sb was an outstanding author and editor who wll be always remembered by all who believe in humanism and compassion” Hakeem said. He conveyed his sympathies with the bereaved family .
In a condolence statement issued on Thursday former Union Minister Prof Saif Ud Din Soz said “I feel extremely sad on the demise of Krishan Dev Sethi, a far sighted leader of the labour and downtrodden class of Society”, adding that “I knew Krishan Dev Sethi personally for a long time as a very dedicated and straight forward leader, who had a deep concern for the cause of labour and poorest of the poor class in the society”. Soz said that Sethi had consistently devoted his youthful years for emancipation of the labour and poorest of the poor section of the society, adding that, “he had a deep insight into the history of different parts of Jammu and Kashmir State.Saying that the departed leader had also a deep understanding of the problems of Kashmir and had not spared any effort to highlight the problems of all sections of society, Soz said “Sethi’s efforts to understand the dynamics of struggle of the people of Kashmir will never be forgotten”.He said that memory of Krishan Dev Sethi will stay long with the people of Jammu and Kashmir particularly, his efforts to solve the problems of the downtrodden members of the society, adding that “It will go to his credit that he was fair to all sections of society in his book “YADE-RAFTA”. In his condolence statement Soz also said “Sethi’s passing away is a great loss to each and every body, especially the people of Jammu and Kashmir State”, adding that “I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Krishan Dev Sethi”.
In a condolence message, JKPCC president G.A. Mir lauded the enormous contributions of Krishan Dev Sethi towards the inclusive development of erstwhile J&K State and upliftment of the people. The deceased leader happened to be lone surviving member of the JK Constituent Assembly, will be remembered long for his vision, uprightness and selfless services he has rendered to people.
The passing away of Krishan Dev Sethi was indeed a great loss, JKPCC President lamented.I am saddened to hear about the passing away of Krishan Dev Sethi and convey my heartfelt condolences to bereaved family and friends of the deceased, G.A. Mir added and prayed for eternal peace to departed soul. Mir also shared grief with the bereaved family and expressed solidarity with them.
While expressing grief and sorrow over the demise of Comrade Krishan Dev Sethi, J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) Vice President and former MLC G N Monga on Thursday termed the deceased as the pillar of secularism.
In his condolence message Monga said, “his death has left a void that will be long felt in the political and social arena of Jammu and Kashmir. The vacuum created by Sethi sahib’s death would take a long time to fill. He was the last surviving constituent assembly member. ”
“In his death, J&K has lost a great and visionary leader, who always championed the cause of secularism,” he said. He termed late Sethi’s contributions historic and commendable. “I am personally grieved at this loss and offer heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family,” said Monga.
In his condolence state CPI(M) Secretary M Y Tarigami described late Sethi an icon of progressive and secular politics in J&K saying that the late leader was till yesterday the only surviving member of the J&K constituent assembly (abrogated on August 5th 2019) and witness to 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 sub continent. 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 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. Tarigami expressed his empathy with the family of the deported and wished them well.
Condoling the demise of Krishan Dev Sethi Peoples’ Conference Chairman Sajad Gani Lone term him a man of strong convictions, uncompromising on his principles and an ardent believer in peace and said “ Late Sethi will be remembered for his vision, uprightness and selfless services he has rendered to people”.Lone said ” KD Sharma 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.”

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