President, PM, political leaders condole Kuldip Nayar's death (Second Lead)

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New Delhi : President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other political leaders on Thursday condoled the death of veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar and remembered his "strong stand" against the Emergency and commitment to a better India.

Nayar breathed his last at the Escorts Hospital here at 12.30 a.m. He was 95.

"Sad to hear of the passing of Kuldip Nayar, veteran editor and writer, diplomat and parliamentarian, and a determined champion of democracy during the Emergency. His readers will miss him. Condolences to his family and associates," the President tweeted.

Expressing his condolences, Modi tweeted: "Kuldip Nayar was an intellectual giant of our times. Frank and fearless in his views, his work spanned across many decades.

"His strong stand against the Emergency, public service and commitment to a better India will always be remembered. Saddened by his demise. My condolences."

Nayar started his career with the Urdu newspaper "Anjam" and was the author of 15 books including "Beyond the Lines", "India after Nehru" and "Emergency Retold".

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he was "saddened by the sudden demise of senior journalist, columnist and former MP, Kuldip Nayar".

"As a columnist he candidly expressed his views in his widely read column ‘Between the Lines'. His contribution to journalism will be remembered. My thoughts are with his bereaved family," Rajnath Singh tweeted.

Remembering his meeting with Nayar a few months ago, Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) President Amit Shah said "he was full of energy and humour".

"My condolences on the sad demise of veteran journalist and former Rajya Sabha member, Kuldip Nayar ji... Nayar ji's firm stand against Emergency can never be forgotten. His passing away is a loss to India's journalism."

The Congress Party also expressed sadness over Nayar's demise.

"We are saddened to hear about the passing of Kuldip Nayar. A veteran journalist, his career also included a tenure as a Rajya Sabha MP and as the high commissioner to United Kingdom. Our deepest condolences to his family," the party tweeted.

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Arvind Kejriwal said the death of Nayar was a "huge loss to the nation".

"Sad news coming in about the passing away of noted journalist and human rights crusader Kuldip Nayar. He will be missed for his fight for press freedom and democratic values in these testing times."

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee extended her condolences to his family, admirers and colleagues.

Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said: "Champion of our democratic rights, civil liberties and at the forefront of those battles, Kuldip Nayar served India with distinction. His advocacy of people to people ties with Pakistan was special. His presence in current battles would have been a source of strength. Condolences."

CPI-M politburo member and MP Md Salim said Nayar was an "exemplary human being, a true champion of peace, an uncompromising fighter for secularism, democratic and human rights and free speech. A huge loss for the subcontinental fraternity".

Nayar's cremation will take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.