Mauritius’ ex-Prez, PM Sir Anerood Jugnauth passes away at 91; PM Modi condoles

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Port Louis (Mauritius), Jun 4 (PTI) Sir Anerood Jugnauth, the former President and Prime Minister of Mauritius, has passed away. He was 91.

Jugnauth, who served as Mauritius’ President twice and Prime Minister six times, was accorded with India's second highest civilian honour Padma Vibhushan in 2020.

'Mauritius has lost one of its most illustrious patriots who was instrumental in the country’s struggle for its complete decolonisation process so that it can exercise its sovereignty over the totality of the territory of the Republic of Mauritius including the Chagos Archipelago,' President Prithvirajsing Roopun said in a condolence statement.

Born March 29, 1930, he became one of the most notable men and respected politicians in the country, the Le Mauricien newspaper reported.

He passed away on Thursday. His funeral will take place on Saturday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday spoke to his Mauritius counterpart Pravind Jugnauth to convey condolences at the death of his father and veteran leader Jugnauth.

'I called @MauritiusPM Pravind Jugnauth to convey heartfelt condolences on the sad demise of Sir Anerood Jugnauth. He will be remembered as one of the tallest leaders of the Indian Ocean Region and a principal architect of India's special friendship with Mauritius,' Modi tweeted.

In a tweet on Thursday, Modi had described Jugnauth as a statesman who was the architect of modern Mauritius.

'A proud Pravasi Bharatiya, he helped forge the special bilateral relationship that will benefit from his legacy,' he said.

Jugnauth married Sarojini Ballah in 1957 and the couple has two children, including Prime Minister Pravind.

Jugnauth served as President of Mauritius from 2003 to 2012, and was elected as the Prime Minister six times from 1982 to 2017. Later, he left his post in favour of his son Pravind Jugnauth.

A lawyer by profession, he began his political career with an election to the Legislative Council in 1963.

In 1951, he went to study law at Lincoln's Inn, University of London in the UK.

In 1965, he attended the Constitutional Conference in London to discuss issues relating to the country's independence.

Jugnauth was a pioneer in the bitter struggle for the decolonisation of the Chagos Archipelago and in promoting the well-being of the Chagossian community.

His fight led to the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that the Chagos Archipelago is an integral part of the territory of the Republic of Mauritius. PTI CPS AKJ CPS