August 2018
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Karunanidhi: Sea of humanity lays Kalaignar to rest at Marin
(CHENNAI: Aug 09, 2018) On a normal day, it takes less than 10 minutes to cover the distance between Rajaji Hall and Anna memorial on Marina beach. On Wednesday, it took two-and-a half hours for the cortege bearing the mortal remains of former chief minister M Karunanidhi to undertake this journey through an ocean of people and roads strewn with petals.

The reason behind the loud wails the sight of the glass casket evoked en route found word in the epitaph engraved in the wood that Karunanidhi was buried in: “The one who toiled without rest takes eternal rest here,” a line Karunanidhi, a prolific writer, had penned 33 years ago. A galaxy of leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, and his Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh counterparts Pinarayi Vijayan, K Chandrasekhar Rao and N Chandrababu Naidu were in attendance.

His last journey began at 4pm, after 11 hours of being in state. Preparations had, however, begun almost immediately after the Madras high court gave its verdict allowing his burial on Marina beach, next to where his mentor and DMK founder C N Annadurai is interred. Just after noon, the public works department swung into action to dig a 10ft-deep grave.

Around 2.30pm, Army personnel took over the funeral proceedings at Rajaji Hall. At 3.54pm, the electric ice box with his body was lifted and placed on a gun carriage as wails of the multitude and shouts of ‘thalaivaa’ outside touched a crescendo. Three Army trucks, one bearing Karunanidhi’s mortal remains, inched through the crowd

His family and close party functionaries followed the procession on foot, undertaking the 1.5km journey from the hall to Anna Memorial via Sivananda Salai and Kamarajar Salai. At 6.13 pm, the procession reached Marina, where various leaders paid their tribute to the DMK patriarch. As his casket was lowered in the ground, people beat their chests and cried.

DMK working president MK Stalin paid a teary tribute to thousands of cadres who descended on Chennai for Karunanidhi’s last journey. In a letter to cadres, released late in the evening, Stalin appealed to party workers to be cautious while returning from Chennai, and added that he would go to bed tonight only after hearing from them that they had reached their homes.

As thousands of mourners filed past the coffin of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi turned tragic when a stampede outside Rajaji Hall claimed four lives and left at least 52 others injured.

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