A tearful farewell to Karunanidhi

DMK patriarch and former Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi was buried beside his mentor C.N. Annadurai on the sands of Marina beach here on Wednesday  as hundreds of thousand of commoners wept, pushed and jostled for space to bid adieu to their leader, causing a stampede that killed two mourners and injured many.After a two-hour funeral procession covering a distance of less than 3km headed by the late leader's son and DMK working president M.K. Stalin wound its way from Rajaji Hall to the Marina shores, the tri-colour wrapped body with his trademark black shades and yellow stole still in tact was interred in a freshly dug grave with soldiers giving him a state funeral with full military honours.

A military band played Honouring Those Who Served' as the casket was taken from the cortege to the grave. Buglers sounded the last post and gunners fired a 21-gun salute after the body of the 94-year-old five-time chief minister was lowered at 7pm amid a crescendo of slogans.As Karunanidhi's body on a flower-decked military vehicle began its last journey from Rajaji Hall, tens of thousands of emotionally-charged men and women lined up on both sides of the road to Marina, shouting slogans hailing the departed leader for his services to the poor and the downtrodden.

In keeping with his rationalist beliefs, Karunanidhi's body in a sandalwood casket was lowered into the earth without religious rituals. As per his wish, the wordings - "The person who had worked without rest is resting here" - were sculpted on the casket.

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