SIALKOT-Pakistan's renowned wrestler M Riaz Butt alias Raju Rocket died of heart attack after protracted illness and was laid to rest in his native Kashmiriyan Graveyard at Sialkot city on Saturday. A large number of the people including wrestlers from across Punjab attended his funeral. The atmosphere remained mourning due to the sad demise.

A large number of his fans also laid floral wreaths at his grave and offered Fateha for the eternal peace of the departed soul. The 85-year-old died of cardiac arrest after protracted illness in Sialkot in Friday evening. The world renowned wrestler had to fight with prolonged illness and the stolidness of the government. As he was fighting against heart disease for the last several years, he had no money for even his medical checkup. In addition, the district administration had demolished the wrestling arena of Raju Rocket in Sialkot by terming it encroachment.

He intended to promote the art of wrestling in Sialkot by utilising his lifelong wrestling experience, but instead of getting benefit of his experience the district administration demolished his "Akhaara" (wrestling arena).

Raju Rocket had lodged a very strong protest against the nasty act of demolition of his Akhaara and said that the death of art of wrestling has occurred in Sialkot after the demolition of his Akhaara. Despite the repeated appeals made by him, the district administration did not allow him to re-establish his wrestling arena for promoting the art of wrestling.

The grieved family raised a question whether the art of wrestling has also died along with Raju Rocket. The family added that now there was no such teacher like him to teach the art of the wrestling after his demise.

"Who will look after and safeguard the legacy of art of wrestling here," the family questioned. In his life, Raju Rocket had won a number of national and international titles and awards by continuing serving Pakistan and promoting the art of the wrestling for 55 years.

But, he could not win the hearts and minds of the people in district administration which demolished his wrestling arena. He had ruled the world of the wrestling in Pakistan for 55 consecutive years and upheld the prestige of Pakistan. He had been the mighty of his time, as the Indian wrestlers had also been reluctant to have fight with him, despite his open challenges. His wrestling also brought a large number of the people to the local wrestling spots and it gave him big applaud during the game. He had good command on his wrestling tricks and skills and strong body due to untiring exercises daily.

He had fought more than 800 wrestling matches under the kind supervision of his mentor Sardar Pehalwan in Lahore, Multan, Sialkot and Gujranwala etc and out of the country. He won all these wrestling and was conferred upon dozens of national level titles of Tamgha Hilal-e-Istaqlal, Sher-e-Punjab, Rustam-e-Multan, Rustam-e-Lahore and Rustam-e-Sialkot. He had fought several free-style wrestling matches in India and Kuwait.

He had said during an interview that he had been living a very miserable life and unable to make both ends meet. The demolition of his Akhaara by the district administration disappointed him.

According to his grieved family, he had turned down the offer of the then Indian Sports Minister to establish a wrestling training institute under his (Raju Rocket) name at Kolhapur-India, when he had visited India in 1985 and had made an open challenge through Indian media for all the then Indian wrestlers to come and fight with him. However, no Indian wrestler accepted his challenge and he remained unbeatable. Due to his activeness, he become famous as "Raju Rocket".