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Thackeray cremated with full state honours as lakhs mourn

MUMBAI, NOV 18 (IANS)
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Published on 19 Nov. 2012 12:11 AM IST
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Lakhs of people paid last tributes to their beloved leader and Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray here Sunday as his mortal remains were consigned to the flames. Thackeray’s son Uddhav lit the pyre at 6.17 p.m.

Uddhav’s cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj stood by him in support as Thackeray’s mortal remains were consigned to the flames.

Uddhav was an epitome of composure and dignity as he lit the funeral pyre of his father. He had earlier broken down at the beginning of the funeral procession. Amidst the chanting of holy mantras, while conducting the last rites, Uddhav led Raj by his hand, implying they be together during the sad moment, just as his father wished since the past few months.

However, only minutes before the funeral pyre was lit, Raj broke down, with tears streaming down his cheeks. The public cremation of Thackeray is a first for Mumbai and he was cremated with full state honours, including a gun salute.

A sea of humanity poured out on all roads leading to Dadar’s Shivaji Park in central Mumbai where the funeral procession reached seven hours after it started from Matoshri, the Thackeray residence seven kms away.

Many VVIPs including businessmen, politicians and members of the Hindi and Marathi films industries marked their presence to pay their final tribute to Thackeray.

Senior leaders from all regional and national political parties were present to pay their last respects to the leader popularly known as The Tiger.

Security arrangements at levels never before seen were put in place since Saturday. According to conservative estimates by the Mumbai police, over 19 lakh people, including those gathered at the Shivaji Park, bid adieu to Thackeray.

Around two lakh people followed Thackeray’s funeral procession.

Traders call for shutdown
Shiv Sena on Sunday said that the party has not called any bandh in Maharashtra on Monday in lieu of Bal Thackeray’s demise. Uddhav Thackeray’s personal secretary Milind Narvekar said that Shiv Sena has not called a bandh either in Maharashtra or in Mumbai on Monday.

However, Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM) called upon its constituents and the trading community to observe a bandh in Maharashtra on Monday as a mark of respect to the Shiv Sena supremo.

In a statement, FAM appealed to all its constituents to observe Monday as the ‘Shradhanjali Day’. Various organizations of traders and dealers are affiliated to FAM, including Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) and markets dealing in grains, sugar, dry fruits, metal, iron and steel and chemicals.

While Navi Mumbai fruits and vegetables wholesale traders and few other wholesalers have called a bandh on Monday, retailers will remain open. Meanwhile, all educational institutes including schools and colleges will remain closed on Monday.

Nagaland CM condoles
Chief minister Neiphiu Rio Sunday offered condolence to the bereaved family members of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray who passed away Saturday due to cardiac arrest.

In a message, Rio said as a politician, late Bal Thackeray was a respected leader who served the people of Maharashtra and the country for over five decades.

“His demise has created a big vacuum which will be difficult to fill” said Rio and added that the people of Maharashtra and the country have lost a “progressive social activist.”

 
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