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‘Volcano is extinct’: Krishan Dev Sethi is no more

sethi


Srinagar: Krishan Dev Sethi, veteran political leader, stalwart of the ‘Quit Kashmir Movement’, and the last of the J&K Constituent Assembly members passed away at his Jammu residence on Thursday.

Achal Sethi, who is Secretary to government, department of Law and Parliamentary Affairs said that his father passed away after brief illness at their Jammu residence at around 4 am on Thursday.

 

“He was not keeping well for the past 2 to 3 months, however, his health condition worsened a couple of days ago and today he breathed his last,” he said.

A strong votary of resolution of Kashmir issue, 93-year-old Krishan Sethi was the last surviving member of the constituent Assembly, which framed the constitution of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

He also represented Nowshera Assembly segment of Jammu and Kashmir.

Sethi was born in Mirpur, now in Pakistan Administered Kashmir, in 1927 and was now presently residing in Talpathri Mohalla in Jammu.

Sethi had moved to Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 and was initially associated with the National Conference when the “Quit Kashmir” movement was launched.

Sethi was cremated at Jogi Gate cremation ground in Gujjar Nagar area of Jammu in the afternoon.

Several noted journalists and other public figures offered their condolences on the demise of the veteran.

The Kashmir Monitor Editor-in-Chief, Zafar Meraj who had along association with the deceased offered tributes to the deceased and recalled his moments with the stalwart.

“In Sethi sahib’s demise, one of the large icons of Kashmir that stood for the rights of the suppressed people and strongly believed in the cherished principals of human rights and communal brotherhood, has fallen silent. As a senior journalist put it: Volcano is extinct.

He would be remembered for a long time for his steadfast struggle against forces that would try to fool the people in the name of region and religion. Sethi sahib was in love with Kashmir and even as he was bed-ridden, he would contribute for several Srinagar based Urdu newspapers discussing various issues that we have been facing,” he said.   

“During the Jammu carnage, when several lakh Muslims of the region were murdered by the right-wing elements, Sethi sahib vehemently denounced the same and held the state leadership responsible for not coming to the rescue of the innocent Muslims. 

Recalling this tragic event to author Khalid Bashir Ahmad, Sethi sahib said: “Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah could have arrested the migration of Muslims from Jammu but he did not. Apparently, he tried for it but not as much as he should have. I and Moti Ram Begra (a senior political figure from Jammu) requested him to stop the migration of Muslims. We told him that if this was not done the demography of Jammu will be changed. Abdullah retorted, “Jammu ke musalmanu ne mujhay kab leader mana hai”? (Muslims of Jammu never recognized me as their leader). The migration of Muslims continued and, in fact, most of the Muslims migrated after Abdullah came to power.”

Zafar Meraj further added that Krishan Sethi was offered a ministerial berth by Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah in 1975, when the latter returned as chief minister in the wake of Accord.

“However Sethi sahib declined the offer. In his own words:  When Sheikh Abdullah returned to power in 1975, he invited me to join him but I declined. I was never interested in power and have always been comfortable being away from it. In fact, when the Sheikh called me and extended his invitation I told him, “Aap to Musalman hain. Aap ko pata hoga ki aap ke Paighambar ne kaha hai ki aik moomin do baar aik hi jagah se dasa nahi jaata” (As a Muslim you should be knowing that your Prophet has said that a believer is not bitten twice from the same spot.),” he said.

Meanwhile, Sethi’s death was widely condoled across political and social spectrum.

Former chief minister and National Conference vice-president, Omar Abdullah in Tweet 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.”

Former chief minister and PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti also condoled the demise of Krishan Dev Sethi.

In a Tweet, she said; “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.”

People’s conference president, Sajad Lone in his Tweet said; “One of pioneers of leftist politics in J & K, a loved leader and a passionate speaker Mr KD Sethi passed away. Will be greatly missed. A liberal to the core. RIP.”

Apni Party chairman Syed Altaf Bukhari also condoled the demise of Sethi stating that the deceased was a visionary and his contribution will be remembered for ever.