Mahendra Singh Tikait, president of Bharatiya Kisan Union passes away
Farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait, who spearheaded several movements for peasants' rights in northern India, died on Sunday due to bone cancer.
Tikait (76), who was president of Bharatiya Kisan Union, had been suffering from bone cancer since last year and breathed his last at the residence of his son and BKU General Secretary Rakesh Tikait here, family sources said.
He is survived by four sons and two daughters. His wife had died earlier. A large number of people gathered here to pay tributes to the farmer leader. The cremation would be held on Monday at BKU headquarters in Sisauli. A popular leader among farmers, Tikait had led a number of mass kisan movements against the state and central governments to support the rights of the farmers.
The BKU had in 1988 laid a virtual siege of Meerut in pursuit of higher prices for sugarcane, cancellation of loans and lowering of water and electricity rates. That same year he had organised a week-long protest in Delhi's Boat Club to focus on the plight of farmers.
Tikait courted controversy in 2008 when he was arrested and later released on bail for allegedly making derogatory and caste based remarks against chief minister Mayawati.
Tikait was arrested several times during his farmers' agitations and the latest being in February 2000 in Moradabad while on his way to hold a panchayat in Lucknow. Born on in 1935 at Sisauli in this district, Tikait, a Jat, inherited the leadership of Baliyan Khap at the age of 8.