Chennai : Ahead of DMK veteran M Karunanidhi's final journey on Wednesday, at least two people have died and 33 injured in a stampede outside the Rajaji Hall where his mortal remains have been kept. The last rites of departed DMK leader is expected to begin around 4 PM after the Madras High Court paved the way for the iconic Tamil politician's burial at the popular Marina Beach in Chennai, near his mentor CN Annadurai and friend MG Ramachandran's memorial. The Madras High Court earlier brought an end to a bitter feud between the DMK and ruling AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu over the issue of Karunanidhi's burial near Anna Memorial at the Marina Beach.
The Tamil Nadu government turning down the DMK request for Marina Beach burial triggered sharp criticism from several quarters in Tamil Nadu and beyond. The DMK claimed that the AIADMK's refusal to give ''six-feet land'' to bury the five-time chief minister next to his mentor CN Annadurai's grave "reeks of pettiness and political vendetta". The court, along with other public offices and institutions, remains closed as a mark of respect to the 94-year-old leader, who is considered the last Tamil Nadu politician with a mass following.
M Karunanidhi, DMK patriarch and five-time former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, died at 94 on Tuesday after battling for life at Kauvery Hospital in Chennai. Admitted to the hospital on July 18, the Tamil Nadu strongman, popularly known as Kalaignar, breathed his last at 6.10 pm on August 7, according to a press release by Kauvery Hospital
Karunanidhi's mortal remains were earlier brought to the Rajaji Hall on Wednesday morning. A large number of supporters gathered outside M Karunanidhi's Gopalapuram residence and the Rajaji Hall where his mortal remains have been kept. The Chennai Police had to resort to mild lathi-charge to disperse the DMK supporters. DMK top leadership had appealed to the cadres to remain calm and stay away from any kind of violence. All top leaders of the country, including President Ram Nath Kovind, PM Narendra Modi, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi etc have mourned the demise of the DMK stalwart.
Karunanidhi was the first political leader to have been the chief of a party for five decades. The five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu was first elected chief of DMK on July 27, 1969. He was 45 at that time and headed a political party that had previously been launched without a president, as the post had been left vacant for Periyar EV Ramasamy. Known for his interest in arts, poetry and Tamil culture, Karunanidhi has had his share of sworn supporters and staunch critics over the last many years. For DMK though, he has been a pillar - withstanding the ups and downs of Indian politics with firm resolve.