People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 07

February 17, 2008


Comrade J Hemachandran Passes Away

ONE of the popular leaders of the communist movement in Tamilnadu, Comrade J Hemachandran passed away on February 8 evening in a Trivandrum hospital where he was admitted for the surgery of a tumour in the spinal chord. The Nagercoil district committee of the party was looking after him, and N Varadarajan and T K Ranagarajan had visited him in the hospital after the surgery to inquire about the progress in his post-operative recovery. However, suddenly he developed some complications and the end came at about 7 pm in spite of the best efforts of the attending medical consultants.

Comrade J Hemachandran was born at Mathur in Kanyakumari district on November 10, 1932. While doing his college studies in Trivandrum, he became a leader of the student movement and then became a member of the Communist Party in the year 1952. After coming back to Nagercoil he became a wholetimer of the party in the year 1962 and remained steadfastly with the CPI(M) since the reorganisation of the party in 1964. He was arrested under DIR in 1964 and was in jail for 14 months. He became a member the party’s state committee in 1978 and was elected to the state secretariat in 2005, which position he held till he breathed his last.

Comrade J Hemachandran was elected to the state assembly four times and was the leader of the CPI(M) legislative group from 1999 to 2005. He had worked as district secretary of the party during the nineties. He visited many countries including China and Russia.

During the early sixties, Comrade J Hemachandran worked among the plantation workers and emerged as a CITU leader when it was formed. He worked as the district secretary of the transport workers’ federation for quiet a long time and became state unit president of this federation. He was also a leader of the textile, spinning, coir and general workers unions in the district. He led various successful movements of the workers, braving police and bureaucratic high-handedness. He became president of the state CITU during the nineties, which position he held till his death.

On hearing the news of his sudden demise, CPI(M) state secretary N Varadarajan, Central Committee member W R Varadarajan, state secretariat members D Lakshmanan, K Balakrishnan, P Sampath and M N S Venkatraman all had rushed to the Nagercoil district committee office where the body was kept for the leaders and the general public to pay him respects. His last rites were performed at Mathur, his native village on February 9.

A bachelor throughout his life, Comrade J Hemachandran was a relentless fighter and was a down to earth leader who had been accessible to everybody at all times. He was an outstanding personality of public life and was respected by all political leaders of the state. His death is an irreparable loss to the party and the communist movement.

On February 9, 2008, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat sent the following message to the secretary, Tamilnadu state committee of the party, condoling the death of Comrade J Hemachandran.

I WAS deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing away of Comrade J Hemachandran. Comrade Hemachandran was a dedicated leader of the party and the trade union movement in Kanyakumari district and Tamilnadu. His role in developing the trade union movement and serving the people as an MLA in the Tamilnadu state assembly several times will always be remembered.

In his death, the party and the trade union movement in Tamilnadu has lost a sincere and selfless leader.

Please convey my heartfelt condolences to his family members.

On the same day the CITU also condoled Comrade J Hemachandran’s demise.

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions expresses its deep grief at the passing away of Comrade J Hemachandran, a veteran trade unionist and president of the Tamilnadu state committee of the CITU. He was 77 years old. He died in the evening on February8, at Thiruvananthapuram.

Comrade Hemachandran served for the cause of working class with utmost dedication, for over five decades. He was vice president of the All India Plantation Workers Federation. He was also a member of the National Rubber Board. He was elected to the Tamilnadu assembly on four occasions. His sad demise has caused a void in the trade unions movement and is a loss to the CITU.

We pay respectful homage to his memory and convey our heartfelt condolences. (INN)