Head of DU's Pol Science Dept Veena Kukreja dies at Delhi hospital

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New Delhi, May 14 (PTI) Head of Delhi University's Political Science Department Veena Kukreja, who was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at a hospital here, died in the early hours of Friday after suffering a cardiac arrest. She was 64.

Kukreja's colleagues condoled her demise while her department held a virtual prayer meeting in her memory.

Professor Bipin Tiwary, Kukreja's colleague from the department said she was admitted to Saroj Hospital in Rohini on April 24 after she tested positive for coronavirus. She was recovering well and had been moved out of the ICU to the COVID ward.

'I was in constant touch with her and I used to call her at 6-6.30 pm every day. I was monitoring things like whether her bed is clean, washroom is okay and whether she is being looked after. Yesterday also I spoke to her and she seemed quite jovial and was on the road to recovery. But around 2.30 am her BP and pulse dropped and she passed away,' he said.

Tiwary said he was very close to Kukreja and her demise was a personal loss to him. Kukreja is survived by her elder sister, aged 72, and a nephew.

Kukreja would have turned 65 in August. She had been heading Delhi University's Political Science Department for the last three years.

According to her resume, Kukreja's work 'Contemporary Pakistan (2003)' had been recommended for the course on South Asia at Syracuse University, New York.

Professor Rajesh Jha, a political science professor at DU's Rajdhani College described Kukreja as a woman of few words.

'She did not carry a cell phone for the longest time and if we had to reach her, we would call on a landline. She was the first student of Professor M P Singh, who was also my PhD guide. He was regularly checking on her while she was unwell. He would always speak highly of her and tell us that one should be like her,' he said.

Jha said Kukreja was an expert on South Asian Politics and many masters' students opted for the subject, even though it was optional.

Professor M P Singh, who is currently in Shimla, said he was 'shattered' by the news of Kukreja's demise.

'I was told that she had recovered and had even walked in the ward yesterday. She had tested negative (for COVID-19). She was my student when I first joined DU in 1978 and also did her MPhil research and PhD dissertation under me. We have been co-authors and co-editors for many books,' he said.

She was an 'excellent scholar, meticulous, hardworking and very popular as the HOD', he said.

'We were part of an ICSSR project, Federalism in South Asia, which was supposed to be published by Routledge publications. We were supposed to finalise it but her death has come as a huge loss,' Singh said.

While Kukreja was an expert on South Asian and Pakistan politics, Singh is an expert on Indian and Comparative Politics.

'Together, we made a good team on South Asian politics,' he said. PTI SLB DIV DIV