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Published in the 16-31 May 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Sulaiman Sait passes away

The Milli Gazette Online

Al Haj Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait, president of Indian National League and former president of the Indian Union Muslim League of Kerala died of heat attack on 27 April in Bangalore. He was admitted to Bangalore’s Manipal Hospital on 24 April after he complained of breathing trouble. The news of his death sent shock waves and gloom among Muslims all over the country as he was their sincere well wisher and took up their causes and raised them in Parliament. Starting his Parliamentary career in 1960 as the nominated member to Rajya Sabha, he was elected to Parliament consecutively seven times on IUML ticket. 
He was one of the founder members of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM) as well as All India Milli Council of which he was also elected president only last year. He was closely associated with many other Muslim organisations also. Born in Bangalore 83 years ago, he moved to Kerala where he took active part in the politics of the state and affairs of Muslims of Kerala and later, of the whole country. 

Rich tributes were paid to him by virtually all Muslim and Milli organisations as AIMPLB, AIMMM, Islamic Fiqh Academy, All India Talimi wa Milli Foundation and the Institute of Objective Studies (IOS).

He was laid to rest at Bangalore on 28 April where thousands of people, including former PM Deve Gowda, minister of state for foreign affairs E. Ahmed and MLAs and ministers of Karnataka government joined his funeral procession. A guard of honour was presented by the government of Karnatak as a mark of respect.

Paying tributes to him in the Rajya Sabha, chairman of the House, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat read out the condolence message which among other things said that he was an experienced parliamentarian, distinguished social worker and champion of the rights of minorities. The House observed one minute’s silence as a mark of respect to him. The Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, condoled Mr. Sait's death. In her message, she said the country and particularly Kerala had lost a prominent voice of the community. 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the death of Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait, President of the Indian National League, and described him as a "nationalist who was committed to the welfare of the downtrodden". "Sait was a true nationalist, a patriot, who had the best interests of our people and the nation at heart", Singh said in a condolence message. Sait served the people of Kerala with distinction and dedication and in his death, the people of Kerala have lost a valued leader, Singh added. He was deeply religious and also modern and progressive in his views, the Prime Minister said adding that the nation would mourn the passing away of a nationalist. 

Syed Shahabuddin, president of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, said that the sad demise of Janab Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait, a member of AIMMM’s Supreme Guidance Council, was an irreparable loss to the Community. “Sait Saheb played long innings in national and Muslim politics...He was associated with every struggle of the Muslim community for security and dignity, equality and justice, whether it was the movement for the restoration of the Muslim character of the AMU, the movement for the defence of the Shariat against any interference by the Executive, the Legislature or the Judiciary, the movement for the restoration of the Babari Masjid, as a member of the Babari Masjid Movement Coordination Committee or the Movement for the Empowerment of Muslim Indians,” said Syed Shahabuddin, adding that “In every sense of the term, he was a pillar of the Muslim community. Today that pillar has fallen, the stirring voice has fallen silent.” Shahabuddin described himas as one of the greatest leaders of the Muslim community after independence.” Though a native of Karnataka and Kerala, Sait was fluent in Urdu as well. He is survived by two sons and three daughters. 
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