Chennai, Sep 30 (PTI) Hindu Munnani founder convenor Ramagopalan, known for popularising Ganesh Chaturthi puja and immersion festival in Tamil Nadu, died here on Wednesday after testing positive for COVID-19, the organisation said.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister K Palaniswami and DMK President M K Stalin, among others, condoled his death.
The 94 year-old Ramagopalan was not keeping well for some time and was admitted to a private hospital here on September 26 with complaints of pneumonia.
'The first test revealed he had no corona infection, but he tested positive in the second test. And since the last two days, the doctors attending on him tried their best to save him,' Kadeswara C Subramaniam, state president of Hindu Munnani, said.
Ramagopalan's end came this evening.
Born on September 19, 1927 in Sirkazhi in then Tanjore district, Ramagopalan, an AMIE diploma holder, quit his job in the Electricity department and became a full-time RSS volunteer in 1945.
He was responsible for the gradual growth of RSS throughout Tamil Nadu and rose to the stature of Regional Campaigner (States) of the saffron movement.
He later formed the Hindu Munnani (Hindu Front), a religious and cultural organisation in 1980 under the guidance of the RSS.
He survived an attack on his life at the Madurai railway station in 1984 which left him with severe cuts on his neck and head. He had always worn a saffron cap since then.
BJP State President L Murugan also recalled the attack on Ramagopalan, while mourning his death.
In his condolence message, Purohit said he was saddened to know about the demise of Ramagopalan.
'Fondly known as Veera Thuravi (brave saint),he dedicated his entire life span for the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu.
His demise is an irreparable loss to the people of Tamil Nadu and particularly workers and followers of Hindu Munnani,' the Governor said.
Palaniswami said the Hindu Munnani founder was involved in the freedom struggle and has been a guiding force for the organisation.
'I pray to God that his soul rest in peace,' the chief minister said in a statement.
Deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam said he was shocked and anguished over the passing away of the leader.
Stalin said that despite the ideological differences between the two, both late chief minister M Karunanidhi, his father, and Ramagopalan were good friends.
'I know the mutual goodwill that they had shared, the dignity of exchanging ideas with each other, the culture and the mature friendship.
Even when they met, both were firm on their respective principles. That freedom of ideology never interfered with their friendship,' he said in a statement.
Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, BJP's state general secretary Vanathi Srinivasan who hailed him as 'the flame of Hindu unity.' AMMK founder T T V Dhinakaran and PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss also condoled Ramagoplan's death. PTI JSP SA APR RAVINDRANATH APR RAVINDRANATH