Mandela was a champion of Third World: CPI-M

New Delhi, Dec 6: The CPI-M Friday described Nelson Mandela as “a true champion of the people of Third World countries” and said the world had “lost one of its finest sons” in his death.

“In his death, all the people fighting for freedom and against injustice have lost a valuable ally and a comrade-in-arms,” said the Communist Party of India-Marxist.

“His death is a great loss to humanity. At the same time his life and work remain a source of celebration in the onward march of humanity for freedom and liberty,” the party said in a statement.

The statement recalled that Mandela visited India immediately after his release from prison “and was accorded a tremendous reception by the people of India”.

“Mandela himself was moved by the popular warmth and affection showered upon him, particularly (by) the people of Calcutta,” it said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu presided over a huge public reception and the entire city of Calcutta “rose in celebration to witness Mandela”.

The statement said that unlike many leaders who cling to power, Mandela voluntarily retired after serving one term as the South African president.