CPI(M) expresses grief over death of veteran communist leader, freedom fighter N Sankaraiah

CPI(M) expresses grief over death of veteran communist leader, freedom fighter N Sankaraiah

New Delhi, Nov 15 (PTI) The CPI(M) expressed grief on Wednesday over the death of freedom fighter and veteran Marxist N Sankaraiah, one of the oldest communist leaders in the country. Sankaraiah was 101 years old.

In a statement, the politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said Sankaraiah joined the freedom struggle when he was a student of the American College in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. He was arrested just before his final examinations and thus, could not get his degree. Altogether, Sankaraiah spent eight years in jail till the eve of independence.

He joined the Communist Party in 1940 and became one of the key organisers of the undivided party in Tamil Nadu.

Sankaraiah was one of the 32 National Council members who walked out of the party to form the CPI(M) subsequently. He made a major contribution to building the communist movement in Tamil Nadu and served as the secretary of the party's state committee from 1995 to 2002.

Sankaraiah was elected thrice to the Tamil Nadu Assembly in 1967, 1977 and 1980. He was the leader of the CPI(M) group in the Assembly in 1977 and 1980.

Sankaraiah was also involved in the development of a farmers' movement and became the general secretary and president of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS).

'Sankaraiah was a powerful speaker who could communicate communist politics and policies effectively amongst the people. He was a dedicated Marxist who was devoted to the party and set high standards of integrity and simplicity in public life,' the CPI(M) said.

'In his death, the communist movement has lost a leader with a glorious record, but his legacy lives on. The politburo pays homage to his memory and conveys its heartfelt condolences to his two sons and family members,' it added.

The AIKS, the farmers' wing of the CPI(M), also condoled his death.

'Sankaraiah was a freedom fighter who had spent eight years in jail during the anti-imperialist independence movement and also after the country became free. His first prison term when he was a student had extended up to 18 months under the colonial Defence of India Act. He joined the Communist Party in 1940,' it said in a statement.

'Sankaraiah till his last breath continued to guide and follow the latest developments in the country's democratic and progressive movements. With his passing away, the AIKS and the Left democratic movement have lost a towering leader for whom personal difficulties were always secondary, and the cause '“liberation of the working class, peasantry and all the oppressed'“ remained supreme. The AIKS will always remember him with love, respect and pride, and shall strive to fulfil his ideals of a democratic, secular and socialist society,' it added. PTI AO RC

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