Veteran editor Ajit Bhattacharjea dead

Ajit Bhattacharjea, veteran journalist and editor, passed away on Monday after a brief battle with a tumour in his brain. He was 86. Bhattarcharjea is survived by his son Aditya, daughters Suman and Nomita, and three grandchildren.

In nearly 60 years of active journalism, Bhattacharjea worked for several newspapers, and was the Delhi Editor of The Indian Express.

"The tumour in his brain was detected a few months back, when it was at an advanced stage. He was hospitalised briefly, but we did not want to inflict any surgery or radiotherapy on him. He has been home for the last three months. His end was very peaceful and he had all his three children with him," Aditya said.

Bhattacharjea will be cremated at the Lodhi Road electric crematorium at 10.30 am on Tuesday.

The Editors' Guild of India, of which Bhattacharjea was a founder member, described him as "an ardent champion of the freedom of press". "Among the many issues he took up was the campaign against the proposed Defamation Bill, which the Rajiv Gandhi government was keen to enact in the late 1980s. The bill was subsequently withdrawn," the Guild said in a statement.

Bhattacharjea was born in Shimla in 1924, and received BA and MA degrees at St Stephen's College in Delhi. He began his journalistic career in 1946 as an apprentice sub-editor and reporter with The Hindustan Times. In 1947, he went to Srinagar soon after the first Indian troops had been sent to repel the tribal invaders, and returned the following year to cover the Indo-Pakistan war in Kashmir.

In 1951, he joined The Statesman, New Delhi, as Special Representative and Parliamentary Correspondent. Ten years later, he returned to The Hindustan Times as its Washington correspondent. He came back to Delhi in 1967 as the paper's Editor.

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