Framer of Kashmir’s independent constitution dies at 93

Krishan Dev Sethi was last surviving member of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir

The last surviving member of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir region’s Constituent Assembly, Krishan Dev Sethi, passed away on Thursday at his residence in the Jammu region, the family said.

The 93-year-old Sethi, who was a strong votary of resolution of Kashmir issue, was a member of the Constituent Assembly which framed the constitution of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Constituent Assembly was a body of representatives elected in 1951 to formulate the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. It was later dissolved on Jan 26, 1957, based on Mir Qasim’s resolution it adopted and ratified on Nov 17, 1956.

In 1956 the Constituent Assembly finalized its constitution, which declared the whole of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir to be “an integral part of the Union of India.”

Early life 

Sethi was born in 1928 in Mirpur, Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir, and migrated to the Jammu region in 1947.

In one of his interviews with a local daily of Kashmir, he described how violence broke out at his native place when an autocratic ruler Maharaja Gulab Singh invaded Mirpur and his stint to rise against the oppression.

He was thrown to Mirpur jail along with hundreds of people and then the partition took place.

He shifted to the Jammu region in 1947 and started his political career along with the strongest party of that time, the National Conference.

Later on, he joined the Communist Party and finally quit from mainstream politics.

Condolences pour in

Former chief ministers of the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, expressed grief over the demise of Sethi.

Abdullah tweeted: “Sorry to hear about the demise of Krishan Dev Sethi. He was the last surviving member of the Constituent Assembly of J&K [Jammu and Kashmir] and a former MLA [Member of the Legislative Assembly]. My condolences to his family and prayers for the eternal rest of his soul.”

Mufti also said she is deeply saddened to know about Sethi’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.

Many journalists in the region also expressed grief over the demise.

A senior journalist Yusuf Jameel also wrote in a tweet that Sethi was a respected politician in the region.

“He always told the truth as it was. A versatile politician, a great thinker and a loving human being. It was for these reasons that he was respected and deeply loved by the people on both sides of the LoC [a de facto border that splits the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan] and beyond. Will continue to live in our hearts. Ah, Krishan Dev Sethi,” Jameel wrote on his Twitter handle.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965, and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups have been fighting against the Indian rule for independence, or for unification with Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands have been killed and tortured in the conflict that flared up in 1989.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *