London: Praful Bidwai, a veteran journalist, author and anti-nuclear activist died in the Netherlands after choking on a piece of meat while having dinner.

Delhi-based Bidwai, 65, was attending a conference in Amsterdam on Tuesday when he choked on a piece of meat during dinner at a restaurant and died on the spot. The Indian embassy in the Netherlands said its consular wing was assisting in the case.

“We got information this morning about the sad demise of Bidwai, who passed away at around 2130 GMT yesterday. He was at a dinner with friends and colleagues at a restaurant when he suffocated on a piece of meat," an embassy spokesperson told PTI from The Hague.

“We are in contact with the local authorities and once the procedural work is completed by today or tomorrow, we will be able to begin the process of sending his body to India," he added.

Bidwai was a fellow at Transnational Institute at Amsterdam, an organization of international scholar-activists. He was a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers, besides being a leading anti-nuclear activist. He also wrote a number of books, including the New Nukes: India, Pakistan and Global Nuclear Disarmament.

His latest book on the crisis in the Indian Left was due to be released later this year. After working as a senior editor for the Times of India for a number of years, Bidwai became a freelance commentator, writing for publications in India and abroad. He was a staunch critic of the Narendra Modi-led ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. In an article in UK-based The Guardian earlier this year, he wrote that Modi’s “grandiose schemes—including large-scale urban sanitation, cleaning up the Ganges, interlinking rivers or creating ‘smart cities’—smacks of gimmickry and empty sloganeering".

He also wrote a regular column for Frontline and Hindustan Times for several years. Born in Nagpur, Bidwai had been a Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Social Development, New Delhi, and also a Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. He had also served as a member of the Indian Council for Social Science Research, the Central Advisory Board on Education, and the National Book Trust. PTI

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