Two persons were killed and more than 30 injured on Wednesday in a stampede outside the Rajaji Hall in Chennai as hundreds of thousands thronged for a final glimpse of DMK leader M. Karunanidhi, witnesses said.
“There has been heavy jostling and pushing and pulling in the crowd since morning,” one man at the site said, explaining what led to the stampede.
The two people were crushed shortly after DMK leader and Karunanidhi’s son M K Stalin appealed for calm to the milling crowds which were getting restive at not being able to get close to the body, reported news agency IANS.
Karunanidhi’ funeral procession started at 4 pm and he will be laid to rest at Marina near the Anna memorial here, said the DMK.
A party statement said the procession would begin from Rajaji Hall by 4 p.m, and proceed through Sivananda Road and Thanthai Periyar Road to reach Anna Square.
He would be buried adjacent to mausoleum of former Chief Minister and his mentor C N Annadurai on the sands of Marina, it said.
“Party supporters and public are requested to stay calm during the procession and pay their respects to the unparallelled leader,” it said. Shops and businesses are shutterred and vehicles are off the roads in Chennai.
The Madras High Court on Wednesday allowed Karunanidhi to be buried at Chennai’s Marina beach. The order came on a petition filed by DMK following Tamil Nadu government’s refusal to allot space for him to be buried at the beach, the resting place of many political icons.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Karunanidhi and briefly met members of his family. Clad in white, Modi laid a wreath at Karunanidhi’s feet and bowed before his mortal remains, paying his respect to the late leader.
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, former chief ministers of Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, Oommen Chandy and Akilesh Yadav were among other leaders who paid homage to the departed leader.