NEW DELHI, Nov 17 - Former Governor of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir Lt Gen Srinivas Kumar Sinha passed away here this morning after a brief illness. He was 92.
His family said he passed away at 10.45 am at the Army Research and Referral Hospital. He was first admitted to the base hospital in New Delhi on November 1 with fractures in his femur and ribs and was later shifted to the Research and Referral Hospital after some complications developed.
Sinha was scheduled to deliver a speech at the annual Mamoni Raisom Goswami Memorial Lecture on Monday last, but could not do so because of his health condition.
He is survived by his wife, three daughters, and son YK Sinha, an IFS officer who at present is Indian Ambassador to Sri Lanka and is moving to the UK for his new posting.
Family sources said the funeral will take place tomorrow noon at the Brar Square crematorium in New Delhi.
Lt Gen Sinha, who will be best remembered in Assam as the author of the sensational report on illegal migration from Bangladesh, which was quoted extensively by the Supreme Court in its judgement on IM(DT) Act case. He was the Governor of Assam from 1997 to 2003.
Born in 1926, Sinha graduated with Honours from Patna University in 1942 at the age of 17. He joined the Army soon after, passing out as the Best Cadet from the Officers Training School, Belgaum. He saw combat during the World War II in Burma and Indonesia and after Independence in Kashmir.
He commanded battalion of 5 Gorkha Rifles in Ladakh, a brigade in Manipur, a Mountain Division in Assam, Infantry Division in Jammu, a Corps and a field Army in the Western Theatre. He also had the distinction of serving as Adjutant General and Vice Chief of Army Staff.
During his career, Sinha, in 1949, was appointed as the Secretary of the Indian delegation for delineation of the ceasefire line in Kashmir. In 1972, he led the Indian delegation to Italy for a conference on application of human rights to warfare. In recognition of his service, he was awarded Param Vishist Sewa Medal in 1973.
As a statesman, Sinha was appointed Indian Ambassador to Nepal in 1990. Appreciative of his work, the then Prime Minister of Nepal had said, �General Sinha was as much India�s Ambassador to Nepal as Nepal�s Ambassador to India�.
A prolific writer, Sinha authored five books, including one on J-K operation of 1947-48 and his autobiography, A Soldier Recalls.
In his biography, when asked about the most satisfying moment during his stay in Assam, he said: �I can think of two satisfying moments. When I took over in September 1997, the Indian Army, which I had served for 40 years, was looked upon by the people of Assam as an occupational Army.
�There was very little interaction between troops and local populace. I set about correcting the perception and I am proud to say that today, through a series of measures, the Indian Army is regarded as a people-friendly force, helping people not only to combat insurgency but also to better their lives,� Lt Gen Sinha had said.
Gen Dalbir Singh, Chief of the Army Staff, besides serving and retired Army personnel will pay homage to the �Soldier Statesman� tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled his death and said Lt Gen Sinha�s service to the nation will always be remembered. �Deeply saddened to learn of the demise of Lt Gen (retd) Srinivas K Sinha, former Governor of J&K and Assam,� Modi tweeted. �Had the opportunity of meeting Lt Gen (retd) Srinivas K Sinha just a few days ago. His service to our nation will always be remembered,� he said in another tweet.
Staff Reporter adds from Guwahati: Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit has also condoled the former Governor�s death. In his condolence message, Purohit termed Sinha as a leader who made all efforts to make Assam advanced on all fronts. �Assam has lost a true hero whose heroic actions brought Assam virtually out of insurgency. He focused primarily on the marginalised communities in society and served as the voice of the voiceless and oppressed,� he said in a statement.
Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary also condoled the demise. In a message, he said Sinha would be remembered for his integrity towards the nation and his deep commitment for Assam and its people. He recalled that the former Governor had won the hearts of the people through his six-year tenure in the State. �His demise is an irreparable loss and his contribution to the country would be remembered for generations to come,� Patowary said.