Balraj Puri Passes Away

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JAMMU: Veteran journalist and a prominent human rights activist, Balraj Puri,  passed away at Government Medical College hospital after a prolonged illness early on Saturday.

Puri, 86 is survived widow, daughter Ellora Puri and son Luv Puri. His cremation will take place at Jogi Gate in Jammu on Sunday.

Born on August 5, 1928, he began his career in journalism as an editor of an Urdu weekly in 1942. Puri was a prolific writer and regular contributor to various newspapers, including the Kashmir Observer.

A  multifaceted personality—a political activist, social worker, Human Rights advocate Puri was conferred Padma Bhushan in 2005 and also  the Indira Gandhi award for national integration on October 31, 2009.

Puri was a supporter of Quit Kashmir Movement launched by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah against the Dogra rule in 1946.

Puri attended J&K State Peoples’ Conference in Srinagar in 1968 as the sole representative from Jammu on its steering committee. 

Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) in a statement has described Balaj Puri a shining star in J&Ks intellectual galaxy. 

“His absorbing personality woven in delicate socio-political fiber of J&K was rich and varied” KCSDS said in a statement released in Srinagar.

“Puri understood and appreciated the delicacy of the fiber, and worked tirelessly to preserve it, as long as he lived, in various capacities, such as political participation, civil activism, putting in historical notes for posterity, and in documenting events and happenings at important cross roads of J&Ks history of recent past”, the statement read.

Governor N.N. Vohra also expressed grief over the demise of Puri.

“ On receiving information about Mr. Puri’s passing away the Governor spoke to his daughter and conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved family”, a raj Bhawan spokesman said. 

Recalling his very long association with Mr. Puri, the Governor particularly remembered the period when Mr. Puri authored the Regional Autonomy Report.

National Conference said Puri’s contributions to the State and its struggle for peace were iconic.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and party president, Mehbooba Mufti, have termed the death of Puri a great loss to the society. They said the deceased will always be remembered for his services to the society, scholarly work, objective writings and secular ideology.

Terming Mr Puri as an intellectual of high stature and a noble soul, the leaders said the deceased has greatly contributed to the discourse on Jammu and Kashmir. They expressed solidarity with bereaved family and prayed for the everlasting peace of the deceased soul.  

Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmad Shah while expressing deep grief and sorrow over the demise said Balraj Puri always stood for truth and throughout his life raised voice against the human rights violations. 

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