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Rights groups pay homage to Prof. Iqbal Ansari

By Mahtab Alam,

New Delhi: The Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) and People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) jointly organized a memorial meeting on 22nd October at Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi to pay homage and tribute to Prof. Iqbal Ansari, a veteran human rights defender and national council member of PUCL.

Prof. Iqbal Ansari, who was always at the forefront of the human and civil rights movements throughout the country over two decades, left this world on 13th October following a heart attack. He was 74 and is survived by his wife, two daughters, and three sons.

Speaking at the condolence meeting, Prof. Manoranjan Mohanthy, a renowned civil rights’ activist and political scientist said, it’s still unbelievable for me that, he is no longer among us. I met him last Sunday only in a meeting called by Citizen’s Initiative for Peace. He was man of action combined by sound understanding of issues. In his death, we have lost a great human rights defender. He will be always remembered for his commitment for the protection and advancement of human rights in India.

Harsh Mander, another prominent human rights activist and ex-IAS officer who resigned during Gujarat genocide, while paying tribute said, Prof. Iqbal Ansari was a man of passion. He was very concerned about the problem of communalism in India and wanted to solve it practically. I am great admirer of him and his works.

Dr. John Dayal, member National Integration Council, Govt. of India and senior journalist said, I have had a long association with Prof. Iqbal Ansari. He was tireless human rights’ defender and great friend of mine. He will be always remembered for his monumental writings on human and minority rights.

Secretary of APCR, Prof. K A Siddiq Hassan in his condolence message said, Prof. Ansari was a tireless defender of citizens’ rights and one of the most firm defenders of civil liberties in India. Throughout his life, he remained deeply committed to the cause of civil liberties and fearlessly took stands on various issues especially communalism and religious freedom. Prof. Ansari was a guiding spirit for APCR and our movement for the establishment of rule of law, civil rights’ protection and advancement of human rights in India.

Justice Rajendrea Sachchar and Syed Hamid could not attend the meeting due their illness but sent their condolence message.

Syed Shahabuddin, editor, Muslim India monthly and close associate of Prof. Iqbal Ansari said, he was a teacher from the day first till death. Whenever, I met him I learned something. His three volumes on Readings on Minorities is everyday reference for me. I have no hesitation to admit that, he was my teacher in real sense no matter he never thought me formally. His untimely and sudden death has created a void in the field of human rights in general and minority rights in particular.

Mahipal Singh, General Secretary, PUCL Delhi said, he was one of the most active members of PUCL. I feel privileged enough to associate myself with him. He was like a loving father for me. His death is a personal loss for me as well. On behalf of PUCL, Radical Humanist Association and his friend Pal Singh, I would like to express deep condolences on the sudden demise of Prof. Iqbal Ansari to his family, fellow travelers and friends.