Benoy Chowdhury dead

CALCUTTA, MAY 7. The veteran freedom-fighter and prominent CPI(M) leader, Mr. Benoy Krishna Chowdhury, died at a Government hospital here on Saturday night, after a prolonged illness. The end came at 10.15 p.m., hospital sources said. Chowdhury (89) is survived by his only son. His wife predeceased him a few months ago.

In New Delhi, the Prime Minister, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee, expressed profound grief over the death of Chowdhury. In a condolence message, Mr. Vajpayee said Chowdhury would be remembered for his contributions to land reforms and panchayati raj movement. He also recalled Chowdhury's participation in the salt agitation and farmers' movement during the freedom struggle.

The West Bengal Governor, Mr. Viren J. Shah, said Chowdhury was a ``firm believer and an active practitioner of value-based politics and had served the State as a Cabinet Minister for several years''. The Chief Minister, Mr. Jyoti Basu, also condoled his death.