Raja Dhale, a founding member of radical anti-caste organisation Dalit Panthers, died at his residence in Mumbai on Tuesday. He was 78, PTI reported. The organisation was active in Maharashtra in the 1970s.
Dhale reportedly fell on the floor at his home after waking up. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors declared him dead.
Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale expressed his condolences. “Dhale brought me into this organisation [Dalit Panthers] and mentored me,” the minister said. “His death is a personal loss for me.”
Dhale was from the state’s Sangli district. In 1972, he co-founded Dalit Panthers, which was inspired by the Black Panther Party of African-Americans in the United States. Their aim was to give voice to Dalits more aggressively in the state. He also wrote several books.
Dhale’s daughter Gatha Dhale is a leader of the Republican Party of India. His last rites will be performed at Chaitya Bhoomi in Mumbai’s Dadar on Wednesday.