Noted freedom fighter Annapurna Maharana dies

Bhubaneswar: Noted freedom fighter and social activist Annapurna Maharana passed away at her residence in Cuttack, family sources said on Tuesday.

She was 96 and survived by two sons. Maharana breathed her last at about 10.30 pm at her Bakharabad residence in Cuttack on Monday night after a prolonged old age related illness.

Her mortal remains will be consigned to flames at Khannagar crematorium in Cuttack today, the sources said.

Odisha governor MC Bhandare, chief minister Naveen Patnaik, OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik and state BJP chief Jual Oram deeply condoled her death describing it as irreparable loss to the state and the nation.

She was an embodiment of selfless service and sacrifice and will be remembered for her dedication, commitment and above all for her simplicity, Bhandare said.

Patnaik, who rushed Cuttack to pay floral tributes to the departed leader, described her as an epitome of sacrifice and a prominent reformer besides being an able freedom fighter. "She was a true daughter of the soil", Patnaik said.

Maharana was born to Odisha's noted freedom fighter Rama Devi and Gopabandhu Choudhury. She was married to Sarat Maharana, who passed away three years ago.

Joining the freedom struggle at the age of only 14, Maharana was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and his ideology.

She accompanied Gandhiji in his historic Harijan Pada Yatra from Puri to Bhadrak in 1934. Maharana was imprisoned at different times including once during Quit India Movement in 1942.

Besides being a freedom fighter, Maharana spent her time in social service after Independence and worked for the uplift of women and children. She too joined the Bhoodan Movement of Acharya Vinoba Bhave. She had set up a school in Rayagada district for tribal children.