Well-known author Raja Dhale, who was one of the founders of the Dalit Panthers in 1972, passed away in Mumbai early on Tuesday, family sources said. Dhale was 79.
He breathed his last around 5 a.m. at his home in Vikhroli in Mumbai. The author is survived by his wife Deeksha and daughter Gattha.
On Wednesday morning, Dhale's mortal remains shall be taken out in a procession from Vikhroli to Dadar where the last rites shall be performed at the Chaityabhoomi Crematorium.
Renowned for his firebrand oratory and literary works, he had unsuccessfully contested the 1999 and 2004 Lok Sabha elections from the Mumbai North-East constituency.
Top Dalit leaders, including Union Minister of State Ramdas Athawale expressed grief over Dhale's demise and paid glowing tributes to the leader for his contributions to the Ambedkarite movement in the country.