Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray was cremated with State honours on Sunday

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Lakhs congregate at Shivaji Park to attend the funeral, three tier security deployed at venue

Tehelka.com bureau
Mumbai/New Delhi

On Sunday 18 November, Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray was cremated at the very grounds he had launched his political outfit from. Lakhs of supporters filled up every inch of the massive Shivaji Park ground, where 46 years ago on the festival of Dushehra, Thackeray had launched the party.

The funeral procession led by his son Uddhav and his family began at 9 am from the family’s home Matoshree in Bandra. The flower bedecked truck carried Thackeray saffron draped body and inched its way through thick crowds who had lined the entire route. The crowds congregated at Shivaji Park where a pyre had been built for the veteran politician’s last rites.

Now draped in the National Flag and Thackeray was given a gun salute as a part of the State funneral.

Guided by priests, the traditional funeral rituals were conducted by Uddhav Thackeray as the rest of the family stood by. They were joined by lakhs of Shiv Sena workers and scored of Mumbai celebrities including actor Amitabh Bachchan and industrialists Anil Ambani. Senior politicians from various parties also paid their final tributes to the Shiv Sena supremo at the funeral.

Television news channels live-telecast the funeral that was held amidst a three-tier security ring that was put in place as the massive crowds had been anticipated.

According to news reports the Shiv Sena had sought permission to perform Thackeray’s funeral rites at the park. He had last addressed his followers via a video message on Dushehra as he was too frail to attend the function in person. He had appealed to his followers to continue their loyalty to the party and to his son the Uddhav Thackeray, and grandson Aditya.

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