Working people and Communist activists on Thursday bid a tearful and emotional farewell to legendary communist and trade union leader R. Umanath, who passed away here on Wednesday.

Leaders and cadre of the Left and other political parties and members of trade unions paid respect to the mortal remains of the leader kept at Venmani Illam, the CPI(M) district headquarters, since Wednesday.

Later, the body was taken out in a procession. Amid slogans of ‘Red Salute to Comrade Umanath,’ the body was cremated at the Oyamari electric crematorium around noon.

Earlier, speaking at a condolence meeting, senior CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat paid rich tributes to Umanath for repeatedly highlighting the problems of working classes and the oppressed sections in Parliament, where he sat for Pudukottai. Umanath helped the party equip itself ideologically and politically to counter the onslaught of forces of imperialism and capitalism on Marxist ideology, when he became a member of the CPI(M) Politburo in 1991, she said. He was always of the view that the Left should play a pivotal role in taking up social issues like casteism and communalism, instead of waiting for others to do so.

Ms. Karat said Umanath was a source of inspiration for functionaries of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) to flag the women’s rights and gender equality.

CPI(M) West Bengal secretary Biman Bose said Umanath was a legend in Marxism and Leninism and had won the appreciation of great parliamentarians such as Hiren Mukherjee.

Rajya Sabha member T. K. Rangarajan explained the crucial role played by Umanath, especially in prison reforms. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member K. Varadarajan, CITU leader A.K. Padmanaban, party central committee member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the former DMK Minister, K. N. Nehru, CPI State secretary D. Pandian and senior CPI leader R. Nallakannu spoke.

State CPI(M) secretary G. Ramakrishnan presided over the meeting.