Kolhapur bids tearful farewell to Dalit litterateur (Second Lead, correcting para six)

Kolhapur (Maharashtra), March 4 (IANS) Thousands of people from Kolhapur, political leaders, Dalit activists and scholars bade a tearful adieu to top Dalit litterateur Krishna Kirwale here on Saturday.

Kirwale was killed over a minor financial dispute with a local carpenter, police officials said.

His body was found in a pool of blood near his residence in Rajendra Nagar area here on Friday evening.

Police teams swung into action and nabbed the accused, a 30-year-old carpenter Pritam G. Patil, who had done some furniture in Kirwale’s home recently.

The investigators said Patil had a dispute over an outstanding amount of Rs 25,000, which allegedly triggered the attack and murder of Kirwale.

Earlier in the day, thousands of city residents paid homage to Kirwale, a renowned Dalit scholar, researcher, writer and activist, at Bindu Chowk, the central part of Kolhapur, said his close associate Alok Jatratkar.

Kirwale is survived by his wife Kalpana and daughter Anagha, a Ph.D student at the Fergusson College in Pune.

Around 4 p.m, in a huge procession his body was taken for the last rites to the Panchganga Ghat crematorium, Jatratkar said.

Among the prominent personalities who attended were Union Minister Ramdas Athawale, Shivaji University Kolhapur (SUK) Vice Chancellor Devanand Shinde, top Republican Party of India leaders, academicians, progressive intellectuals and activists.

A former Head of Department of Marathi and that of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Centre for Research & Development — both at the SUK, Kirwale’s murder comes exactly 24 months after the killing of his associate and veteran Communist leader Govind Pansare in February 2015.

Among his major contributions was a “Dictionary of Dalit and Gramin Literatures” and a biography of the pioneering Dalit intellectual, Baburao Bagul, Jatratkar added.

Athawale has demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into Kirwale’s killing, while Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde termed the incident as “a collapse of law and order in Maharashtra”.

–IANS

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