Raja Dhale, one of the founders of the radical outfit Dalit Panther, died at his residence in Mumbai on Tuesday, family sources said. He was 78.
After waking up in the morning as usual, Dhale fell on the floor at home. He was taken to a nearby hospital where doctors declared him dead, a family member said.
His daughter Gatha Dhale is currently a leader of the Republican Party of India –RPI — (A).
Hailing from Maharashtra’s Sangli district, Dhale, along with others, in 1972 founded Dalit Panther, a youth-based organisation inspired by the Black Panther outfit of African-Americans in the US, with an aim to raise the voice of Dalits more aggressively in the state.
Apart from being a social worker, he authored several books.
Union Minister of State for Social Justice and RPI (A) chief Ramdas Athawale expressed grief over his demise. “Dhale brought me into this organisation (Dalit Panther) and mentored me. His death is a personal loss for me,” Athawale said.
Dhale’s last rites will be performed at ‘Chaitya Bhoomi’ in Dadar area on Wednesday.