Veteran CPI leader D Pandian dies in Chennai at 88

Veteran CPI leader D Pandian dies in Chennai at 88
Veteran leader of Communist Party of India (CPI) D Pandian passed away in Chennai on Friday morning. He was 88 years old and placed under life support at the Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital in Chennai on Friday after his health worsened. Pandian was a two-time MP and also former Tamil Nadu state secretary of the CPI.  Muthurasan, CPI state secretary of Tamil Nadu released a statement on Thursday, on Pandian’s health condition. Pandian, who had chronic kidney disease, was admitted with sepsis and hypoglycemia.  Pandian was the state secretary of the CPI for nearly six years till 2015. He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989 from the North Madras constituency. He then went on to win the same seat in 1991. On both occasions he contested as a United Communist Party of India (UCPI) candidate, reported The Hindu.  D Pandian was injured in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at Sriperumbudur in May 1991. He was supposed to translate the former PM’s speech at the election campaign in Sriperumbudur.  He became the first victim to publicly demand the release of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. In October 2018, he wrote a letter to Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit seeking their release on humanitarian grounds. At the time, he told Indian Express,  “No civilised society can give justification for keeping someone in prison for over 28 years.” He also pointed out that the judiciary is meant to reform people. “If you cannot reform these people after 20 years, then something is seriously wrong with your judicial system.” He left the CPI at one point and together with the late Mohit Sen, founded the UCPI. However he later rejoined the CPI in 2000. Pandian then took charge as editor of Janasakhi, a Tamil newspaper run by the CPI. Pandian joined the Communist Party while he was a college student in 1953. He later became an English teacher at the same college - Alagappa College in Karaikudi. He also wrote books on history.

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