Vittal Arabhavi, the farmer who committed suicide near Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belgaum on Wednesday, was cremated at Kankanwadi village on Thursday.
Arabhavi hailed from Raibag taluk in Belgaum district.
Hundreds of villagers and farmers participated in the funeral. Raghavendra Arabhavi, the eldest son of the deceased, performed the last rites. Excise and District Minister Satish Jarkiholi, former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, former ministers Shobha Karandlaje and Shashikant Naik, Raibag MLA Duryodhana Aihole, BJP state president Prahlad Joshi, JD(S) district president Ashok Pujari and several other politicians and leaders were present.
The district administration had made elaborate security arrangements at the village to prevent any untoward incident. Athani and Ainapur villages, which are major sugarcane growing areas, observed a bandh. All the educational institutions remained closed. Advocates of Athani stayed away from court proceedings as a mark of respect to the departed soul.
Sources said Arabhavi had grown sugarcane on his 22 guntas of land and had supplied cane to Nirani Sugars, a company owned by former minister Murugesh Nirani. The factory owes `1.98 lakh to the deceased. Vittal had borrowed `15 lakh from banks but was unable to repay it. A family member of Vittal told Express that before consuming poison he had written a letter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah stating that he was consuming poison because of his inability to repay the loan.
Meanwhile, Yeddyurappa handed over a cheque `2.5 lakh to each of the two wives of Arabhavi. ENS