Calcutta, July 23: Veteran journalist and editor-in-chief of The Statesman C.R. Irani passed away in a city hospital today. He was 74.
A crusader for press freedom, Irani will be best remembered for defying the government during the Emergency in the mid-1970s. Apart from being associated with several press freedom organisations all over the world, he was also the chairman of the Press Trust of India for three terms and served on its board of directors till his death.
Irani had been admitted to the R.N. Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences on July 5 with complaints of acute respiratory trouble. He developed serious renal problems within a few days of admission to the hospital. His condition deteriorated suddenly a few days ago and he passed away today following multiple organ failure.
He is survived by his wife Threety and daughters Rati, Nilofer and Nirvaan.
On hearing the news, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee condoled Irani’s death. “I am deeply saddened by this news,” he said. Bhattacharjee, who came to attend the foundation day function of the Calcutta Press Club, observed two minutes’ silence as a mark of respect to Irani.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee tonight said that in Irani’s passing away the country has lost a fearless journalist. “Irani set new standards in print media,” Vajpayee said in his message. “His Caveat columns in The Statesman were always timely reminders for Indian society. All thinking Indians will miss the sharp pen of Irani.”
Irani’s body will be kept at Statesman House from 8 am until noon on Sunday to enable his admirers to pay their last respects. From Statesman House his body will be taken to the Rawan Ghar for Parsi prayers and at 4 pm the cortege will leave for the Tower of Silence in Beliaghata.