Lahore, May 8 : Human rights activists and experts from various fields remembered Gandhian icon Nirmala Deshpande, who passed away in New Delhi on May 1, as an apostle of peace who always fought for the cause of human rights in India.
They praised her at a seminar held at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan last evening to pay respect to the departed soul.
Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Asma Jahangir said that Nirmala delivered the message of peace. "She lived peacefully and died in peace. She was one of the few Indians for whom Pakistanis had gathered to pay respect," the Daily Times quoted her as saying.
"During a recent visit to India in March, she gave a warm reception to the women delegates. She also told me how she saved people during the Gujarat riots. Her integrity and sincerity are above question," she said and added that she was such a person that she met President Pervez Musharraf despite the fact that human rights activists called him a 'dictator' in Pakistan.
Dr Mubashar Hassan, former Pakistan finance minister and a peace activist, also praised Deshpande and said that she had a calm disposition. "The word enmity was not in her dictionary. She was a person who talked about peace between India and Pakistan at the height of confrontation between the two countries. She had several enemies in India, but was twice nominated as a member of Rajya Sabha because of her works," he said, adding that everyone should follow her footsteps to promote peace.
South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) General Secretary Imtiaz Alam said that Deshpande was a person whose message was not limited to particular people. "The Pakistani government wants to promote peace in the region, so it should struggle to make South Asian Free Trade Agreement successful for better relations between the two countries," he said and proposed that people should to the border on August 14 and light up candles to pay tribute to her.