Ramraoji Maharaj, spiritual leader of Banjara community, dead

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Mumbai, Oct 31 (PTI) Shri Sant Ramraoji Maharaj, a spiritual leader of the Banjara community, died at a private hospital here, sources close to him said on Saturday.

The 84-year-old religious leader was undergoing treatment for the last one month and died around 11 on Friday night, they said.

He was known for his work for creating awareness about superstition, promoting literacy, and his campaign against the dowry custom.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among political leaders who paid tributes to him.

'Shri Ramrao Bapu Maharaj ji will be remembered for his service to the society and rich spiritual knowledge. He worked tirelessly to alleviate poverty and human suffering,' Modi tweeted.

'I had the honour of meeting him a few months ago. In this sad hour, my thoughts are with his devotees. Om shanti,' the prime minister said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said Ramraoji Maharaj's death was an irreparable loss to entire society and not just the Banjara community.

State Congress leader Ashok Chavan said he was an inspiration to entire society, and always put emphasis on education.

NCP president Sharad Pawar said Ramraoji Maharaj's workfor education, prohibition and his campaign against superstition were unparalleled.

Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Devendra Fadnavis said the late spiritual leader should be given a state funeral.

The last rites will be held at Pohradevi in Maharashtra's Washim district on Monday, sources said. PTI MR KRK KRK