New Delhi, Dec 6 : Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma on Friday condoled the demise of South Africa's first elected black President Nelson Mandela, saying that world has lost an iconic symbol of freedom and human dignity.
In a statement, Sharma said: "The news of demise of Nelson Mandela, the first President of post-apartheid South Africa has deeply saddened us all. In his passing, the world has lost an iconic symbol of freedom and human dignity."
"He was a leader who gave hope, courage and strength to the multitudes of discriminated and oppressed people across the world. He led the South African people in a courageous fight against the scourge of racism and ensured the dismantling of the abominable apartheid regime," he added.
Asserting that Mandela had enormous tenacity of purpose, courage of conviction and profound humility, Sharma said: "He remained unwavering and resolute in his arduous struggle inspite of decades of incarceration including long years of solitary confinement."
"As the founding President of non racial democratic South Africa, he provided a healing touch to a people bruised by decades of racial tyranny and violence by following the path of truth and reconciliation," he added.
Calling him a true hero and a source of inspiration for generations of young people, activists and freedom fighters, Sharma said: "His passing away has made the world much poorer and this day marks an end of an era."
"History will respectfully recall Mandela's struggle and sacrifices. The principles which he espoused shall continue to inspire generations to follow," he added.
Mandela, who guided South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to multi-racial democracy and became an international icon of peace and reconciliation, died at his home on Thursday at age 95. (ANI)