Thousands pay tribute to Dalit Panther’s co-founder Raja Dhale

At the funeral of Dalit Panther s co-founder Raja Dhale at Shivaji Park, on Wednesday. (Express Photo by Prashant Nadkar)

THOUSANDS PAID tribute to writer and activist Raja Dhale at Vikhroli, Ghatkopar and Chaityabhoomi before he was cremated at Dadar on Wednesday evening. Co-founder of Dalit Panthers Movement in 1972, Dhale died at 78, following a cardiac arrest at his Vikhroli residence in Mumbai on Tuesday.

On Wednesday evening, his final journey began from Tagore Nagar in Vikhroli – one of the main branches of the Dalit Panthers Movement.

His mortal remains were taken to Kannamwar Nagar, also in Vikhroli, where Dhale had spent many years as a youth. The procession also passed through Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar in Ghatkopar.

Thousands gathered at the memorial he (Dhale) had built for Gopalbaba Walangkar, who influenced by Mahatma Phule, had worked against caste discrimination in Raigad district. Rajabhau had also established a library, having contributed many books himself to it, at Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar. Many spoke about the difference Dhale made to their lives, Gautam Sangale, an associate of Dhale, said.

Earlier, Prakash Ambedkar, RPI leader Ramdas Athavale and state minister Avinash Mahatekar visited the Dhale family and paid tributes to the activist. Former MP Kirit Somaiya and Shiv Sena MLA from Vikhroli, Sunil Raut also paid respect to Dhale.