Kanshi Ram cremated amid drama
THE DISPUTE between Kanshi Ram's family and BSP chief Mayawati played out till the very end. The mortal remains of the BSP founder, who died on Monday morning, were consigned to flames at the Nigambodh Ghat but only after a tussle for the body and allegations of foul play.india Updated: Oct 10, 2006 01:40 IST
THE DISPUTE between Kanshi Ram's family and BSP chief Mayawati played out till the very end. The mortal remains of the BSP founder, who died on Monday morning, were consigned to flames at the Nigambodh Ghat but only after a tussle for the body and allegations of foul play.
Kanshi Ram's two sisters and brother as well as other relatives attended the cremation under police protection, ordered by the Delhi High Court. They had gone to the court claiming the body for last rites and demanding a post-mortem, saying they suspected foul play on Mayawati's part. But the court turned down the autopsy demand.
The Dalit leader's body was cremated according to Buddhist rites; his family had objected to this too.
Earlier in the day, Mayawati had announced that as per his wishes, Kanshi Ram's ashes would not be immersed in any river but kept in the party offices in Delhi and Lucknow. But with the late leader's family moving court, she anticipated trouble and changed her plans, deciding instead to keep the body at the party office for two hours so people could pay their last respects and arranged for early cremation.
After the cremation, Kanshi Ram's sister Swarn Kaur accused Mayawati of destroying their family and keeping them from meeting the ailing leader for the past two years, right till his final hour. Brother Dalwara Singh reiterated that he suspected foul play and said he would lodge an FIR against the BSP chief. He also sought a probe into Kanshi Ram's death.
Among the leaders who attended the cremation were Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, I.K. Gujral and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj. Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani — along with other leaders like Sharad Pawar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Ajit Singh, Prakash and Brinda Karat, Madan Lal Khurana and Sahib Singh — visited Mayawati's residence to pay homage to the late leader.
A huge crowd of party workers from across the country also swarmed the cremation ground, throwing traffic on nearby roads out of gear and necessitating the deployment of a massive police contingent. Shouts of “Kanshi Ram amar rahe” rent the air as people strained for one final glimpse.
Kanshi Ram, who had been ailing for the past two years, died at around 12.30 a.m. due to a cerebral stroke arising out of multiple health complications, party sources said. He was 72.