The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kanshi goes in turmoil

New Delhi, Oct. 9: Even on his final journey today, Kanshi Ram was dogged by the battle between his protégé Mayavati and his family who accused her of killing him.

Kanshi Ram, 72, the leader of Dalits whose Bahujan Samaj Party changed the face of Uttar Pradesh politics, died at Mayavatiís Delhi residence after midnight.

ďWe suspect she (Mayavati) has killed him. We donít know what all she has done,Ē said his sister Swarn Kaur as the family moved Delhi High Court.

Mayavati did not allow the family to come anywhere near Kanshi Ram through the period of his illness.

The court refused to order a post-mortem, but ordered police protection to Swarn and brother Harbans Singh to attend the cremation at Nigambodh Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna.

The drama upset the scheduled movement of the body, leading Mayavati to advance the cremation by about an hour and a half.

Expected at the party headquarters by noon, the body arrived more than an hour later by when Mayavati had told party supporters that the cremation should be completed before 3 pm.

With the family not permitted anywhere in sight, she had earlier announced that Kanshi Ram would be cremated in accordance with Buddhist rites at 4.30 pm.

However, amid reports that his siblings might claim the body and move court, Mayavati brought forward the cremation.

Harbans said he suspected foul play and would lodge an FIR against Mayavati.

He sought a probe into the circumstances leading to Kanshi Ramís death and objected to the last rites being performed according to Buddhist traditions.

During the last two years, when Kanshi Ram was sick, Mayavati shut him out completely from the family and the world.

As he convalesced at Mayavatiís residence, his family alleged that she was holding him captive in order to control the BSP and the partyís funds.

In December last year, when his mother passed away, Kanshi Ramís family members iterated their complaints, saying Mayavati had not allowed them to meet him.

He was last seen in March on his 72nd birthday, unable to speak and looking on helplessly as the cameras whirred.

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