Srinagar, May 31: National Panthers Party (NPP) supremo Professor Bhim Singh 80, passed away on Tuesday at Bakshi Nagar Hospital in Jammu. He was ailing for a few months. Bhim Singh was born in August 1941 in the Ramnagar area of Jammu.
He founded the National Panthers’ Party on 23 March 1982 along with his wife Jai Mala and other associates.
Singh was the party president for 30 years till 2012. After this he gave this place to his nephew Harsh Dev Singh.
He once again returned to active leadership last year when he was elected the president of the party.
From the president of the party's Jammu and Kashmir youth unit to its national general secretary, before launching his own party in October 1982, Singh held several key positions in the Congress.
He studied law at the University of London. He was the first Indian to be elected secretary of the University of London Union in 1971. Singh, who contested election for the UdhampurLokSabha seat in 1988, was defeated by the Congress candidate. Alleging foul play, he went on a hunger strike against the Election Commission of India.
In response to his review petition against the ECI order, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court delivered the judgment in his favour four years later, but by then, the session of Parliament had already been dissolved.
The Supreme Court had awarded Singh Rs 50,000 compensation for his illegal imprisonment by the then state government that followed his suspension as a member of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly in 1985.
In the 2002 assembly polls, his Jammu and Kashmir Panthers’ Party won four seats and became a coalition partner in the Mufti Mohammad Saeed government.
Singh had also provided legal aid to over 200 people from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, who were languishing for decades in different jails across the country. His help saw the release of most of these prisoners.
The veteran leader, who travelled to over 130 countries around the world on a motorcycle, was friends with stalwarts such as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Libya's dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
PM Modi condoles Bhim Singh’s demise
National Panthers’ Party (NPP) founder and senior leader Bhim Singh passed away in Jammu on Tuesday.
Prime Minister NarendraModi expressed condolences on the demise of Singh.
"Prof Bhim Singh Ji will be remembered as a grassroots leader who devoted his life to the welfare of Jammu and Kashmir. He was very well-read and scholarly. I will always recall my interactions with him. Saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti," tweeted Modi. ANI
LG Sinha, political leaders offer condolences, pray for peace of his soul
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and political leaders across the political spectrum Tuesday expressed profound grief and sorrow over the demise of National Panthers’ Party (NPP) supremo, prominent advocate Prof Bhim Singh after a prolonged illness.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said he was deeply saddened to learn about the passing away of Singh.
My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family & friends in this hour of grief. Om Shanti”, he said in a tweet.
National Conference (NC) president Dr Farooq, in his condolence message, expressed sorrow on the death of Prof Bhim Singh, who, he said, stood for his principles right from the beginning of his political career till his death. “He was not only an acclaimed advocate but was a vociferous defender of human rights. As a lawyer, he helped scores of incarcerated people free of cost,” Dr Farooq said adding, “Prof Bhim Singh was vociferous about J&K’s identity and did everything in his capacity to protect it. His passing away has created a big vacuum in our political as well as social space which will be hard to fill.”
Dr Farooq travelled to Jammu and paid floral tributes to the mortal remains of the deceased at his Jammu office. He was accompanied by the provincial president Jammu Rattan Lal Gupta, YNC PP Ajaz Jan, a party statement said.
In his condolence message Omar Abdullah said, “My earliest memories of Bhim Singh ji go all the way back to 1984 when he joined with my father to protest the unconstitutional dismissal of the NC government. He was a unique politician with friends cutting across political and geographic lines. He supported the cause of Jammu with as much ease as he did the cause of Palestinians. From Yassar Arafat to Col. Gaddafi he seemed to have met them all with amazing stories to tell.”
Party’s senior leader AR Rather while expressing shock over his demise said, “He was a fighter who fought for the rights of the downtrodden all his life.”
According to the party statement a condolence meet was organised at the party headquarters Nawa-e-Subah. The meet, presided by party’s Additional General Secretary Dr Sheikh Mustafa Kamaal, recalled the contributions of the late leader in J&K’s socio-political space.
People's Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti in a tweet said," JK has lost a legal luminary and a great leader who fought tooth and nail for his people. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family."
PDP general secretary and former minister AdvGhNabi Lone expressed grief over the death of Professor Bhim Singh. PDP general secretary express sympathies with the bereaved family and pray for the peace of eternal soul. The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president Ghulam Ahmad Mir expressed deep sorrow over the passing away of veteran political leader Prof.Bhim Singh.
JKPCC President Ghulam Ahmad Mir recalled the selfless services of Prof.Bhim Singh to people of J&K and termed his passing away as a great loss.
I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing away of a veteran leader, who was known for his ability and uprightness Mir said in his condolence message, he said.
Apni Party (AP) president Syed Mohammad AltafBukhari said, “My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family of Prof Bhim Singh, who was one of the senior politicians of Jammu and Kashmir. May the departed soul rest in peace, and May Almighty give enough strength to the bereaved family to bear the irreparable loss.”
Apni Party (AP) held a condolence meeting to pay respects to Prof Bhim Singh who was considered as one of the strongest voices of Jammu, a party statement said. The participants paid floral tributes to the picture of Prof Bhim Singh as a mark of respect and then observed two minutes of silence, added the statement.
Former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court and former Chairman of the State Accountability Commission (SAC) Justice (R) Bashir Ahmad Khan paid rich tributes to Prof.Bhim Singh.
People’s Conference (PC) chairman, SajadGani Lone in a tweet said that Singh was his father’s colleague and friend.
"Prof Bhim Singh passes away. A man of many parts. Timeless, selfless and a crusader. From riding Sahara on a motorcycle to Palestine to Iraq— Bhim Singh Ji had friends all across. A born adventurer. May he rest in peace."
In his condolence message, Justice (R) Khan described Prof. Singh as a comrade in arms, a one man rebel against any establishment, a fearless crusader of causes, a champion of Human Rights, a restless soul who wanted to run the place on his own terms, a unique political specie who could not fit into any political outfit and a man who lived hand to mouth and by his convictions. “At one stage he played a one man opposition against towering Sheikh Abdullah for which he was jailed giving me opportunity of getting him bailed out. When no one was prepared to stand surety for him, I offered myself to get him released,” Justice (R) Khan said.
National Conference (NC) senior leader and former minister MianAltaf Ahmed described Prof.Bhim Singh as a principled statesman who played a significant role in the socio-political awakening of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He said Prof Bhim Singh has immensely contributed in strengthening roots of democracy and secularism in Jammu and Kashmir. In the passing away of Singh, we have lost a great personality and senior most politicians, which indeed a great loss to J&K, he said.
CPI (M) leader MohamadYousufTarigami said that Prof Bhim Singh was a leader committed to secular values who fought relentlessly for the rights of downtrodden and marginalized sections of the society in and outside the state legislature.
At a time when polarization and divisiveness has dominated the political arena, he stood for communal harmony and fought tooth and nail against the forces, who are hell-bent upon dividing the people and regions on the communal lines, Tarigami said.
BJP national general secretary and in charge Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, TarunChugh said that Singh was an astute and selfless politician, who always worked for the welfare of the people. He said that his passing away has left a void in the political spectrum of Jammu and Kashmir, which is difficult to fill.
Senior BJP leader Devender Singh Rana said, "Prof Bhim Singh will be remembered for his legal and political acumen, qualities of head and heart, down to earth approach towards all and deep political understanding." Rana also visited the headquarters of J&K National Panthers’ Party, where the mortal remains of the departed leader were kept for public darshan. He placed a wreath, as a mark of respect and paid tribute to Prof Bhim Singh.
Senior NC leader and former minister Ajay Kumar Sadhotra visited NPP office to pay homage and respect to departed Leader Prof Bhim Singh, a statement from the party said.
In his condolence message, Sadhotra described Prof Bhim Singh a legendary politician with qualities of head and heart, who kept public interest above all during his public life.