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‘End of an era’: Indian leaders pay tribute to the Cuban revolutionary leader

india Updated: Nov 26, 2016 15:48 IST
Fidel Castro

07 August 1983 - Then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with President of Cuba Fidel Castro during the opening ceremony of the Non Aligned Movement conference on August 7, 1983. (N Thyagarajan/Hindustan Times)

Indian leaders, cutting across party lines, paid tribute to Cuban revolutionary leader and former president Fidel Castro, who passed away on Friday night. Castro was in poor health since an intestinal ailment nearly killed him in 2006. He was 90.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted on Twitter that Castro was one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century and a “good friend” of India.

President Pranab Mukerjee also conveyed his heartfelt condolences on demise of Castro and said he was a dear friend to India.

Read | Fidel Castro: A revolutionary who brought India and Cuba closer

Describing his death as a loss not limited to Cuba or a particular ideology, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said Castro led the oppressed and stood up to any attempt at stifling the voice of freedom. “His contribution to the Non Aligned Movement and his unflinching support for India’s cause on various fora will always remain deeply etched in the minds and hearts of the Indian people,” she said in a statement.

This 7th March 1983 file photo shows then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi next to Cuban president Fidel Castro during the opening of the Non Aligned Conference. (Virendra Prabhakar/Hindustan Times)

Left parties

Left parties across the country paid tribute to the leader, calling him a great friend of the Indian Communist movement.

Describing Castro as a source of “inspiration,” CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said he steered Cuba from a very backward country to what it is today.

“Cuba has got the world’s highest rate of literacy, development in medical sciences where even the US sends doctors for training there. And he remained and remains a big revolutionary and source of inspiration,” he said.

Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi greets Fidel Castro upon his arrival in New Delhi enroute to Vietnam on September 10, 1973. (Rane Prakash/Hindustan Times)

Expressing “deep sorrow” over the demise of the former Cuban President, the CPI said, “his demise is not just a loss for Cuba but for the whole world and for all revolutionaries.”

“His whole life is a source of inspiration and enlightenment to the world,” Communist Party of India leader, D. Raja told IANS.

Indira Gandhi with Fidel Castro. (Rane Prakash/Hindustan Times)

The Left parties in West Bengal on Saturday decided to fly the red flag at half mast for three days at their respective offices across the state as a mark of respect. Eighteen Left parties, including the Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India, All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Communist Party of India- Marxist Leninist (Liberation), will also take out a rally from Lenin’s statue in the Esplanade area to the Ram Lila Maidan at Entally in central Kolkata.

Read | ‘A revolution is not a bed of roses’: Top quotes by Fidel Castro