Thousands queue up at Rajaji Hall in Chennai to pay their last respects to DMK president M Karunanidhi
Chennai: After an overnight drama, the DMK won a legal battle on wednesday when the Madras High Court allowed the burial of DMK President and five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. Karunanidhi at Marina Beach.
The High Court bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice SS Sundar turned down the arguments of the state government against the burial of Karunanidhi’s body at Marina Beach.
DMK leader and lawyer Kannadasan told reporters that the court also asked the government to make arrangements for the burial.
The party cadres and leaders assembled at Rajaji Hall, where Karunanidhi’s body has been lying in state for public homage, erupted in joy on hearing the news.
An emotional MK Stalin, DMK’s Working President and son of Karunanidhi broke down on hearing the news and so did top leaders including Duraimurugan, A.Raja and M. Kanimozhi, who is alos Karunanidhi’s daughter.
Duraimurugan and A. Raja comforted Stalin and other family members including former Union Minister and Karunanidhi’s grand nephew Dayanidhi Maran and Kanimozhi.
Earlier all the petitioners who had filed a case against the memorial for AIADMK’s late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said they are withdrawing their petitions and the court dismissed their pleas.
The DMK wanted Karunanidhi to be interred near the seafront memorial of DMK founder and Karunanidhi’s mentor C.N. Annadurai.
The DMK approached the Madras High Court on Tuesday night after the state government declined their request. The hearing went on till midnight when the court adjourned the case directing the state government and Chennai Corporation to file their affidavits on Wednesday.
The AIADMK government late on Tuesday rejected the request and asked the DMK to bury Karunanidhi on Sardar Patel Road which is home to memorials dedicated to Rajaji (C. Rajagopalachari) and K. Kamaraj.
The court asked the government counsel to explain the legal issues in allotting space at Marina Beach as mentioned in the statement issued by the government on Tuesday.
The DMK counsel argued that the government is citing minor issues for rejecting the party’s request for space at Marina Beach for burying Karunanidhi.
The DMK said Karunanidhi is an ardent follower of party founder and Annadurai. Since AIADMK founder M.G. Ramachandran was also a follower of Annadurai he was buried near the latter’s memorial.
According to DMK, the ideologies of late Congress leaders like Rajagopalachari and Kamaraj are different from that of what was followed by Dravidian leaders like Annadurai and Karunanidhi.
Hence it will not be appropriate to bury Karunanidhi at the site offered by the state government.
The DMK also argued that the Chennai Corporation has announced the Annadurai memorial Beach as a burial site.
People throng to pay last respects to Karunanidhi
People queued up in large numbers early on Wednesday morning at Rajaji Hall in Chennai to pay their last respects to DMK president M Karunanidhi who died on Tuesday after prolonged illness.
The chief minister of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, K Palaniswami, and his deputy O Panneerselvam, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, senior state ministers, AMMK leader and RK Nagar MLA TTV Dhinakaran, actors Rajinikanth Sivakarthikeyan among others paid homage to Karunanidhi.
Speaking to reporters, Palaniswami said Karunanidhi’s demise was a “big loss to Tamil Nadu”.
He extended his sympathies to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) working president and Leader of Opposition, MK Stalin, Karunanidhi’s family, and the DMK workers.
Palaniswami and Panneerselvam had a brief conversation with Stalin during which they apparently extended their sympathies to him over the loss.
Karunanidhi’s body was earlier brought to the stately Rajaji Hall from his CIT Nagar residence for the public to pay homage to the former chief minister.
The Indian tricolour was draped over the body of Karunanidhi. His relatives, including children Stalin, MK Selvam and Kanimozhi, were seen standing beside the mortal remains of the Dravidian stalwart.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi among others are scheduled to pay homage later in the day to the leader, fondly addressed as Kalaignar (artiste).
Grim-faced party leaders and MLAs were seen seated along the stairs of Rajaji Hall.
Supporters and mourners started pouring in at Rajaji Hall early in the morning, with some of them raising slogans hailing their ‘thalaivar’ (leader).
Chants of supporters seeking a space at the Marina beach for the burial of Karunanidhi could also be heard, especially during the visit of the AIADMK delegation.
The DMK had late last night moved the Madras High Court against the government’s refusal to its demand for space at the Marina for Karunanidhi citing certain court cases.
The AIADMK government had offered to allot space at Sardar Patel Road, near the memorials of former chief ministers C Rajagopalachary and K Kamaraj.
A high court bench is slated to delver its verdict on the matter on Wednesday.
The 94-year-old leader breathed his last at the Kauvery Hospital in downtown Chennai at 6.10 pm IST on Tuesday after waging a grim battle for life for 11 days.
Stalin writes emotional letter to Karunanidhi
“Can I call you Appa for one last time my leader,” DMK leader M.K. Stalin penned an emotional letter to his departed father and party leader M. Karunanidhi on Wednesday.
Chief Minister for five times and leader of DMK party for 50 years, the 94-year-old Karunanidhi breathed his last here owing to age related ailments in a private hospital here.
Stalin in his letter said: “Rather than calling you as Appa, Appa, I have called you as Thalaivaray, Thalaivaray (my leader) more number of times. Can I call you as Appa once Thalaivaray.”
Stalin asked his departed father Karunanidhi as to why he did not tell where he was going this time when his habit was always to inform his destination before starting out.
“Thirty three years back, you had said your grave should have the words… the person who had worked without rest is resting here. Have you departed with the satisfaction of having worked hard for the Tamil community,” Stalin added.