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Friends of ailing George Fernandes speak up in support

February 16, 2010 12:13 IST

Friends of Rajya Sabha member and senior Janata Dal-United leader George Fernandes on Tuesday made an appeal, endorsed by many eminent personalities like Union ministers Farooq Abdullah, Jaswant Singh, business tycoon Rahul Bajaj, and eminent dancers Leela Samson and Dr Sonal Mansingh among others.

The appeal speaks about the 'undue speculations' about Fernandes's 'assets and relationships in public view,' which have 'deeply distressed' and 'diminished the image of a great man who, due to a debilitating illness, is unable to defend himself or express himself publicly.'

The text of the appeal is reproduced below:

George Fernandes is one of the most influential of India's political leaders of the last four decades. His entire life was dedicated to fight tyranny, oppression, corruption, and for the upliftment of deprived sections of our society. His battles for equality, democracy, a free media, human rights, and against all forms of injustice are well known.

We, the long time friends of George Fernandes, are deeply distressed at the events of the last few weeks, which diminish this image of a great man who, due to a debilitating illness, is unable to defend himself or express himself publicly.

We are also making this public statement to convey our deep concern for  the wellbeing, health and care of our friend George. We understand he is being moved from place to place and decisions on his well-being are being suddenly and arbitrarily taken by people who are not familiar with the particular aspects, past progress and treatment of his ailments. This is bound to have a severe adverse impact on his state of mind and body.

A panel of suitable people comprising of his familiar doctors at AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) and his long-time colleagues and care-givers, including the immediate and extended family, should be constituted through a legal process to ensure a stable atmosphere for him to feel comfortable and at ease.

All unseemly speculation and discussion being carried out in public view about his assets and relationships undermine the values that our friend  George stands for.

It is our duty as his friends and admirers to ensure him his dignity and to demand respect for what he has done and the choices he has made over so many years.

Issued by:

Justice M N Venkatachaliah, former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India, former Chairman Human Rights Commission, Padma Vibhushan awardee

Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy, former chief minister, Jammu and Kashmir

Jaswant Singh, member of Parliament, former finance minister and defence minister

Viren J Shah, former governor, West Bengal, and arrested in the Baroda Dynamite Case with George Fernandes, former member of Parliament

Kamal Morarka, chairman Gannon Dunkerley Group, former member of  Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and former minister of state

U R Ananthamurthy, renowned Kannada writer, Jnanpith awardee,  socialist, Padma Bhushan awardee

R V Pandit, philanthrophist, film producer, publisher

Rahul Bajaj, chairman Bajaj Group, member of Parliament (Rajya  Sabha)

Uday Kotak, vice-chairman and managing director of Kotak Mahindra  Bank

Ravi Ruia, vice chairman, Essar Group

Chandan Mitra, editor and publisher, The Pioneer newspaper, former member  of Parliament (Rajya Sabha)

Capt C P Krishnan Nair, chairman, Leela Group of Hotels, Padma  Vibhushan awardee

Rajesh V Shah, managing director, Mukand Ltd, former president, CII

Lord Meghnad Desai, writer, economist, member of the House of  Commons, United Kingdom

Kishwar Desai, writer

Vandana Shiva, writer, social activist, scientist

Leela Samson, eminent dancer, writer, Padma Shri awardee

Dr Beatrix D'Souza, educationist, former member of Parliament

Dr Sonal Mansingh, eminent dancer, Padma Vibhushan awardee

Ajay Singh, former deputy minister for railways, former ambassador to Fiji, journalist

Image: Former Union minister George Fernandes | Photograph: Reuters

A Correspondent in New Delhi