Matters India Reporter
NEW DELHI, August 7, 2019: Sushma Swaraj, member of Bharatiya Janata Party who gave a human face to the ministry of external affairs, died on August 6 in New Delhi. She was 66.
Swaraj had suffered cardiac arrests and was rushed to All India Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital. Attempts to revive her failed and she breathed her last around 11 pm, according to the hospital sources.
A star minister during the Modi government’s first stint, Swaraj played a key role in getting the release of several Indians, including two Catholic priests, abducted by terrorist groups in foreign countries.
They included Jesuit Father Alexis Prem Kumar who spent eight months in the custody of suspected Taliban militants in Afghanistan in 2015. He returned to India on February 22 that year. Father Kumar had been director of Jesuit Refugee Service in Afghanistan for five years when he was abducted on June 2, 2014, in the Zendjan district of Herat province while visiting a school.
Sushma also took personal interest in the release of Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was abducted by Islamic State militants on March 4, 2016, from a home for the aged and disabled run by the Missionaries of Charity in Aden, Yemen. Four Missionaries of Charity and 12 others were murdered in the attack. He was released on September 12, 2017.
Swaraj with Pope FrancisSwaraj had helped resolve minor issues such as issuance of visa to the needy and getting relief to Indians in distress. She was credited with building an Indian human capital abroad and the response was an outpouring of support for the Modi government from the non-resident Indian community.
She did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and chose to sit out of the government this year on account of her health. She had a kidney transplant in 2016.
Swaraj was considered an important link between the government and the people. Many political observers viewed her as a challenger to Prime Minister Modi in the initial months of the government.
Courtesy: Matters India