Noted activist, veteran journalist and intellectual Padam Bushan Balraj Puri (born August 5, 1928) passed away on Saturday in the Government Medical College hospital at Jammu after a protracted illness. He was 86 and is survived by a daughter, son and their aged mother.
Puri began his journalist career as editor of a weekly newspaper in 1942. He has actively participated in preventing rioting during 1947 and was part of Quit India and Quit Kashmir movements. Later, Sheikh Abdullah government gave him the responsibility of managing the affairs of the refugees coming from Pakistan and PaK. He has remained very close to Congress leaders especially Nehru and Indira. Dr Farooq Abdullah also appointed him as the head of Regional autonomy Committee, a position he resigned after the government disagreed with his recommendations. Earlier in 1952, his regional autonomy suggestions were accepted by centre and the state governments and Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah jointly announced that in a press conference in July 1952. He was conferred Padama Bushan in 2005.
A prolific writer and author, Puri was active on human rights front during the initial years of militancy. His death has widely been condoled. Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah issued separate statements and both the houses recorded their condolence well before they were adjoured sine die.
Puri’s cremation is slated to take place at Jogi Gate in Jammu on Sunday.