Senior Congress leader VC Shukla, injured in Maoist attack, succumbs to injuries

Shukla (84), who was the main architect of media censorship during the 1975-77 Emergency slapped by then prime minister Indira Gandhi, died around 2.30 pm in Medanta Medicity Hospital.

A former union minister, he was shot in his chest, abdomen and thigh and had lost a lot of blood in the attack on the Congress convoy in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, which claimed 28 lives.

He was flown in an air ambulance to Delhi and taken to Medanta Medicity Hospital. Shukla was in a critical condition since his arrival at the hospital two weeks ago, Yatin Mehta, chairman of Medanta’s Institute of Critical Care, said in a statement.

He was operated upon for intestinal and liver injuries and remained critical in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with vital organ support, the statement said.

President Pranab Mukherjee, PM Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi were among the several leaders who condoled his death.

The Chhattisgarh government has announced three-day state mourning. Dozens of people thronged his residence-cum-farm house Radheshayam Bhawan in Raipur soon after his death was confirmed and his close aides tried to console people who were crying and beating their chests to mourn his death.  

Emergency era’s hatchet man
Vidya Charan Shukla will be remembered for imposing censorship on the media and putting journalists, including top editors, behind bars during the Emergency. He was former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s hatchet man during her hated Emergency era (1975-77) when he was the information and broadcasting minister. Shukla would cut power supply to newspaper printing presses, clamped restrictions on free media operations, harassed and imprisoned journalists. At the height of his power, Shukla even banned songs of Kishore Kumar from AIR and Doordarshan after the artist refused to perform at a Congress rally¬†

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