The last rites of Ajit Bhattacharjea, one of the towering figures of Indian media, were performed here on Tuesday after a large number of his friends and admirers paid rich tributes to him.

Mr. Bhattacharjea, a leading figure of the right to information movement, died at his Panchsheel Enclave residence on Monday after prolonged illness. He was 87.

The last rites were performed by his son at the Lodhi Crematorium.

BJP leader L.K. Advani, veteran journalists Inder Malhotra, B.G. Verghese and Sanjaya Baru, among others, attended the funeral.

The Editors Guild of India condoled the death of Bhattacharjea, describing him as an ardent champion of the freedom of press.

Besides strongly believing in the autonomy of the editor, he held that a newspaper editor was also accountable to his readers, the Guild said.

“Among the many issues he took up was the campaign against the proposed Defamation Bill, which the Rajiv Gandhi government was keen to enact in the early 1980s. The Bill was subsequently withdrawn,” T.N. Ninan and Coomi Kapoor of the Editors Guild said in the statement.

Bhattacharjea was one of the founder members of the Guild and played a leading role in establishing it following the Emergency. In a career spanning 37 years, Bhattacharjea was the Editor of leading newspapers The Hindustan Times, The Times of India and Indian Express.

After retirement, he held the post of Director, Press Institute of India.

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