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Former Arunachal Minister Karma Wangchu dies at 86

Born in 1936 at Seru village under Tawang circle, late Karma Wangchu was elected to the first Legislative Assembly of Arunachal Pradesh from Tawang constituency in 1978.

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Itanagar: Former Arunachal Pradesh Minister Karma Wangchu died in a Guwahati hospital on Thursday.

He was 86 and is survived by his wife, three daughters, six sons and many grandchildren, his family sources said.

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Born in 1936 at Seru village under Tawang circle, late Karma Wangchu was elected to the first Legislative Assembly of Arunachal Pradesh from Tawang constituency in 1978.

Besides being a Pro-Tem Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, late Wangchu served as Minister for Health, Transport and Co-operation in the Tomo Riba Government (Sept 18 to Nov 3, 1979). He was first from Tawang district to become a Minister in Arunachal government.

A recipient of certificate and cash award for distinguished and meritorious service during the 1962 Indo-China war, late Wangchu started his career in Assam Border Police (NEFA Police) during 1959-60 before serving the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) as a Junior Intelligence Officer-II during 1960-76.

Because of his popularity, he won the Assembly polls for four successive terms. “In his long political career, owing to the love of his people, he has not lost any elections. He gracefully retired from active politics in 1994 to take the plunge in the socio-cultural field and many philanthropic activities,” sources said.

As the Intelligence officer, he was posted along the McMahon Line for intelligence gathering and reporting. He was on active duty during the 1962 aggression and was assigned the duty of intelligence gathering attached to the Indian Army in the areas like Bumla, Mago-Thingbu and Zemithang area.

A devout follower of His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama and an ardent advocate of his teachings of compassion, he till his demise was actively involved in philanthropic activities and took out time to work tirelessly towards preservation of the rich Monpa culture and traditions.

Meanwhile, State Governor Brig (Retd) Dr BD Mishra and Chief Minister Pema Khandu have condoled the former minister’s death. They conveyed heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and admirers of late Wangchu, and prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul.

The Governor said, “In the demise of Wangchu, the State has lost a patriot, veteran political leader and a great philanthropist.”

“Karma Wangchu was a man of incredible & multi-faceted talent – an outstanding legislator & philanthropist…So deeply pained at his demise. Heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family,” Khandu tweeted.

“We the Sangha Community of Tawang Monastery are deeply saddened by news of sudden passing away of former minister and MLA Karma Wangchuk….Sir You were one of well wishers of the Monastery. Have been closely connected with the monastery….Pray for swift rebirth in higher realm…We convey our condolence to relatives,” a post from Tawang Monastery read. 

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