Former bureaucrat and educationist Moosa Raza dies at 87

PM Modi, Congress leader Saifud Din Soz, BJP leader and Union Minister Jitendra Singh, officials and politicians offer condolences

Published - May 09, 2024 10:03 pm IST - CHENNAI

Moosa Raza

Moosa Raza | Photo Credit: ANI

Moosa Raza, 87, former Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir and chairman of Southern Indian Education Trust (SIET), which runs several educational institutions in Chennai, died at a private hospital in Chennai on Wednesday. He is survived by his wife Husnara Raza, son Jafar Raza and daughters Shehla Raza, Gazala Raza and Maliha Raza. The last rites of Mr. Raza will be held on Friday.

Born in Meenambur village near Gingee in Villupuram district, Mr. Raza joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1960, after passing his honours in English language and literature from the University of Madras. He served the Gujarat and Central governments in various capacities, including the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Gujarat and Chief Secretary, Government of Jammu and Kashmir. He also served as a member of the National Integration Council of India, after he retired from Government service.

Mr. Raza served Jammu and Kashmir as Chief Secretary (CS) when the region was witnessing an armed uprising between 1998 and 1990. He was tasked by the Centre to operate as the chief negotiator with militant commanders of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which had kidnapped the then Union Home Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s daughter Rubaiya Sayeed and were demanding the release of several arrested JKLF leaders. 

A well-known social worker, he was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2010. Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled his death. In a post on X, Mr. Modi said “Moosa Raza Ji was a veteran bureaucrat who served in various positions at the State and Centre. I used to interact with him and found his perspectives on various issues to be insightful. Post-retirement, he worked extensively on education and learning. Pained by his demise.”

Mr. Raza was widely remembered by local officers and politicians in J&K on his demise. “Apart from being the Chief Secretary of J&K where he (Mr. Raza) took many steps to reform the administrative system, he built friendships all around and aroused feelings for human values,” former Union Minister and Congress leader Saifud Din Soz said.

Mr. Soz said Mr. Raza had a very deep concern for the people of J&K. Mr. Raza’s book titled ‘Kashmir: Land of Regrets’ remains one of the main reference books on the armed uprising Kashmir witnessed in 1990s.

“Saddened by the demise of veteran bureaucrat Moosa Raza, who was Chief Secretary of J&K during the most difficult times of militancy. Even after superannuating and settling down in Chennai, Mr. Raza always maintained his interest in J&K and offered valuable inputs from time to time,” BJP leader and Union Minister Jitendra Singh said.

From 2000 until his death, he was the Chairman of Southern Indian Education Trust. Raza was a voracious reader and was interested in literature, interfaith and philanthropy. Some of the books written by him include Kashmir: Land of Regrets, Of Giants and Windmills, The Smile on Sorrow’s Lips and In Search of Oneness.

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