Mandya: The funeral of K.S. Puttannaiah (69), the veteran Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) leader and MLA representing Melukote segment, was held this noon at his native village Kyathanahalli near Pandavapura with full State honours. The National Tricolour was draped around his body as the funeral procession moved from Mysuru to Kyathanahalli.
However, no rituals were performed when Puttannaiah was laid to rest as he did not believe in such practices. Before the body was laid to rest, the Police team from Mandya fired a 21-gun salute as a mark of respect to the departed soul.
Over 25,000 people had gathered at the funeral venue and as the body was lowered into the ground the crowd raised their hands and waved their green shawls in a circular motion.
Puttannaiah, elected from the Karnataka Sarvodaya Party, breathed his last following a cardiac arrest on Sunday. Since then, the body had been kept at JSS Medical College in Mysuru as his daughters were yet to arrive from the US, where they are settled. He leaves behind his wife Sunitha, son Darshan, daughters Smitha and Akshatha. Both his daughters fell ill near the body today and were treated by doctors in an ambulance.
Former Prime Minister and JD(S) Supremo H.D. Deve Gowda, Chamundeshwari MLA G.T. Devegowda, Ministers U.T. Khader, Ramesh Kumar, Swaraj India Chief Yogendra Yadav, MP C.S. Puttaraju and several other leaders and filmmaker T.N. Seetharam paid their last respects to Puttannaiah at Sir M.V. High School where arrangements were made. Minister Ramesh Kumar was inconsolable after seeing Puttannaiah’s body. He burst into tears and recalled his close association with the farmer leader.
Thousands of people participated in the funeral procession. Most of the people were wearing green shawls, green T-shirts and green caps (the colour that symbolises farmers’ movement) as a mark of respect to the departed soul. The procession passed through Srirangapatna and Pandavapura.
People walking and moving in bikes, cars and trucks along with the cortege raised slogans “Puttannaiah Amaravagali” (Puttannaiah is immortal), “Puttannaiah Matthe Hutti Baa” (Puttannaiah be born again).
Shops and business establishments along the route closed voluntarily. Pandavapura had a bandh-like atmosphere with all the shops and hotels closed as a mark of respect to the departed leader. Farmers and members of the public were allowed to pay tribute to the late leader near Srirangapatna for a brief period.
Senior Revenue and Police officials visited Kyathanahalli yesterday to supervise the preparations for the burial. Farmers from different parts of the State, mainly the old Mysuru region, reached Kyathanahalli to attend the funeral. Over 5,000 farmers from the northern parts of Karnataka had reached the village last night.
Accommodation was provided at local school buildings, temples, and premises of ‘aalemane’ (traditional jaggery-making units) and rice mills. More than 50 food counters were arranged at Kyathanahalli for the farmers.