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Karunanidhi laid to rest on the Marina sands, next to his mentor

No religious rituals were performed as the sandalwood casket carrying the rationalist Karunanidhi was lowered into his grave; a military band played “Honouring Those Who Served”, buglers sounded the last post, and gunners fired a 21-gun salute


DMK supremo and five-time Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi was on Wednesday laid to rest on the sands of Marina beach in Chennai, close to his mentor CN Annadurai’s mausoleum.

The body wrapped in Tricolour complete with his trademark black sunglasses and yellow stole, was laid in a freshly dug grave as soldiers gave the leader a state funeral with full military honours.

Thousands of his grieving supporters, followers, party cadres, besides family members, accompanied the veteran politician, who died on Tuesday at 94, on the journey to his resting place dramatically finalised in the morning after a court hearing.

READ | Karunanidhi passes away at age 94 | Thousands mourn, PM Modi expresses grief

Cutting across party lines, top political leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, besides celebrities from the Tamil film industry paid homage to the departed leader.

As per his last wish, a message was inscribed on the casket carrying Karunanidhi’s body. It said: “Oivedukkamal Uzhaithavan Idho Oivu Kondirukkiran (the one who worked without taking rest is taking rest here)”.

Karunanidhi’s body was kept at Rajaji Hall in Chennai for people to pay last respect before it was taken to the burial site on the Marina shores.

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There was a sea of humanity outside the hall where the situation led to a stampede. Two persons lost their lives and 20 sustained injuries, according to reports.

Supporters wept, pushed and jostled for space to catch one last glimpse of the departed leader and bid him adieu, as a two-hour funeral procession covered a distance of less than 3 km to reach the burial site.

The procession was headed by the late leader’s son and DMK working president MK Stalin.

READ | Karunanidhi’s body kept at Rajaji Hall for public, leaders to pay respects

At 7 pm, as the casket was taken to the grave, and the body of the patriarch was lowered, a military band played “Honouring Those Who Served” and buglers sounded the last post, while gunners fired a 21-gun salute.

No religious rituals were performed as the sandalwood casket carrying the rationalist Karunanidhi was lowered into his grave.

Stalin and his sister Selvi were inconsolable at the Marina beach. Stalin publicly broke down in the morning also after the DMK won the legal battle in court which allowed a burial place for the leader on the Marina. The DMK had gone to court after the AIADMK government rejected its plea to bury Karunanidhi near Anna Samadhi. The government had offered to allot a burial place on Sardar Patel Road, instead.

READ | 2 dead, 33 injured in stampede at Rajaji Hall

Political leaders such as Rahul Gandhi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien joined 95-year-old DMK general secretary K Anbalagan and members of Karunanidhi family at the burial site.

Earlier, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister E. Palaniswamy, Deputy CM O Panneerselvam and a number of cabinet ministers placed wreaths and paid homage at Rajaji Hall.

READ | Rajaji Hall to Marina beach: Karunanidhi’s last journey

Those who paid last respects included Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal ledear Tejashwi Yadav, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, his predecessor Prakash Karat, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayansamy, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee flew down to Chennai on Tuesday night and visited the Gopalapuram residence to pay her last respects.

PHOTO GALLERY | From PM to commoners, lakhs bid farewell to the DMK supremo 

Union Ministers Pon Radhakrishnan and Ramdas Athawle were also present at the burial where Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar represented the AIADMK government.

The DMK leader breathed his last at a private hospital in Chennai on Tuesday after a prolonged illness. There was a complete shutdown in the city and across the state on Wednesday, and the government declared a public holiday as a mark of respect to Karunanidhi.

(With agency inputs)