K.S. Puttannaiah, farmers’ leader and MLA, who passed away on February 18, was laid to rest with full state honours in his native village Kyathanahalli, near Pandavapura, on Thursday afternoon.
Nearly 50,000 people — a majority of them farmers — paid their last respects, apart from a host of political leaders. Farmers also came from neighbouring Tamil Nadu and from Punjab.
The body of Puttannaiah, who played a pivotal role in strengthening the farmers’ movement in Karnataka, was brought to Kyathanahalli from the JSS Medical College in Mysuru, where it had been kept since February 19.
The funeral was conducted without any religious rituals, even though a few seers attended, as Puttannaiah was against such beliefs. However, a puja was performed by Puttannaiah’s wife Suneetha, daughters Smitha and Akshatha, and other family members before the burial. According to the KRRS leaders, they had first decided to cremate the mortal remains according to the customs of his community. However, a burial was decided later as Puttannaiah was opposed to wasting firewood for cremation.
Among the leaders who attended the funeral were former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda; Health Minister K.R. Ramesh Kumar; Housing Minister M. Krishnappa; Food and Civil Supplies Minister U.T. Khader; C.S. Puttaraju, MP for Mandya; Swaraj India National president Yogendra Yadav; Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait; G. Madegowda, former MP; Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha leader Vatal Nagaraj; Kadidal Shamanna, farmer leader; film-maker Nagatihalli Chandrashekar; and professor Ravivarma Kumar.