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Gandhian Chunibhai Vaidya dies aged 97

Press Trust Of India  |  Ahmedabad 

Gandhian and land rights crusader Chunibhai Vaidya died here on Friday due to age-related problems.

97-year old Vaidya breathed his last early this morning at his home, his associates said. He is survived by daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.

Vaidya's funeral will take place later this afternoon at the Dadhichi crematorium in Vadaj area. A prayer meeting will be held at the Gandhi Ashram on Sunday. Condoling the death of Vaidya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "I am saddened by the passing away of eminent Gandhian Shri Chunibhai Vaidya. My condolence to his family. May his soul attain eternal peace."

Several other leaders condoled the death of Vaidya, including political secretary to Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel who said that Gujarat has lost the proponent of Gandhian thinking. A Gandhian to the core and a sarvodaya veteran, Chunibhai participated in the freedom struggle and in Vinoba Bhave's Bhoodan Movement. He was a peace worker for twelve years in the mid-sixties following violence in Assam.

He waged a battle against Emergency in 1975 and faced imprisonment, and was felicitated with "Sane Guruji Nirbhay Patrakarita" Award. He was also felicitated with "Vishva Gujarati Pratibha" award by Vishva Gujarati Samaj.

A champion of the farmers' cause, he took up the drought relief work in Gujarat for two years from 1986. He organised construction of many check dams which irrigate land of over 12,000 hectares in Patan district of North Gujarat.

His book 'Assassination of Gandhi : Facts and Falsehood' was translated and published in eleven languages.

He had also raised his voice after the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Active in public life till the last month of his life, Vaidya was lovingly known as 'Chuni-kaka' in Gujarat.

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First Published: Fri, December 19 2014. 21:31 IST