Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi was on Wednesday laid to rest next to his mentor and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam founder CN Annadurai at Marina Beach in Chennai. He was accorded full state honours, including a 21-gun salute.
Thousands of people gathered to pay their last respects and accompany the funeral procession from Rajaji Hall to Marina Beach. Two people were killed and several injured in stampede-like incidents outside Rajaji Hall when Karunanidhi’s body was kept there.
Earlier in the day, the Madras High Court had accepted the DMK’s plea for a burial spot at Marina beach for the five-time chief minister, who died of age-related ailments at the age of 94 on Tuesday. The DMK moved the court after the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government in the state denied a site for his burial at the beach.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Chief Ministers HD Kumaraswamy, Pinarayi Vijayan, K Chandrasekhar Rao and N Chandrababu Naidu paid their respects to Karunanidhi. Former chief ministers of Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, Oommen Chandy and Akhilesh Yadav, Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury also attended the funeral.
Tamil Nadu will observe seven days of mourning. Punjab government observed a one-day state mourning on Wednesday, while the Puducherry government declared a holiday on Wednesday and a three-day state mourning. The national flag flew at half-mast as the government of India also observed state mourning throughout the country on Wednesday.
Here’s how the day unfolded:
6.58 pm: Karunanidhi’s casket is closed and lowered into a grave at Anna Memorial. Defence personnel give him the 21-gun salute.
Karunanidhi is laid to rest next to his mentor and DMK founder CN Annadurai.
6:52 pm: The DMK flag, Karunanidhi’s trademark yellow shawl and sunglasses are placed in the casket, The Hindu reports.
6.45 pm: Family members MK Stalin, MK Alagiri, Rajathi Ammal, Selvi, Durga Stalin, MK Tamizharasu, Kanimozhi, Aravindan, Mallika Maran, Kaveri Kalanithi, Kalanithi and Dayanidhi Maran, and nephew Selvam pay their respects.
DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan pays his respect.
6.40 pm: Karunanidhi’s family members pay their respects.
6.35 pm: BJP MP Pon Radhakrishnan, Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad, JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda and Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit pay their respects. Tri-service band plays in the background, reports The Hindu.
The tricolour is handed over to Karunanidhi’s son MK Stalin. Karunanidhi is accorded full state honours.
6.30 pm: Party leaders pay floral tributes to Karunanidhi at Anna Memorial.
6.25 pm: The tricolour is draped over Karunanidhi’s body. Army, Navy and Air Force personnel pay their respects.
6.22 pm: Defence personnel take the casket to the burial site at Anna Memorial.
6.06 pm: The gun carriage carrying the casket has reached Anna Square, The Hindu reports. Karunanidhi’s family members, including daughter Selvi, sons-in-law Murasoli Selvam, Aravindan, daughter-in-law Durga Stalin and grandchildren are present.
5.57 pm: Karunanidhi’s daughter and Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi arrives at Anna Memorial. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and Congress leader EVKS Elangovan too are at the memorial, The Hindu reports.
5.53 pm: The procession passes through Kamarajar Salai, just a few feet away from Anna Memorial, The Hindu reports.
5.44 pm: The casket will be placed in a pit behind the samadhi of Karunanidhi’s mentor and DMK founder CN Annadurai, First Post reports.
5.37 pm: Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has arrived at Anna Memorial, The Hindu reports. DMK’s General Secretary and Karunanidhi’s friend K Anbazhagan, Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan, Karunanidhi’s grandnephew Kalanithi Maran, DMK leader Durai Murugan are at the Anna Memorial.
5.30 pm: DMK supporters take out a procession carrying a 100-feet-long banner of photos of Karunanidhi.
5.25 pm: Karunanidhi’s casket carries the words: “Oivu edukamal uzhaithavan, idho oivu eduthu kondu irukiran” meaning “One who worked without taking rest, is resting in peace here.”
5.20 pm: The Indian flag flies at half-mast at the Parliament. The government of India observed state mourning throughout the country on Wednesday.
4.50 pm: The procession is now near the statue of late Chief Minister C Annadurai on Anna Salai, reports The New Indian Express. Karunanidhi’s son and former Union minister MK Alagiri has reached Anna Memorial on Marina Beach, The Hindu reports. Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien is also present.
4.47 pm: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Tamil Nadu minister D Jayakumar are at Anna Square to participate in the funeral. Karunanidhi’s sons MK Stalin, MK Tamilarasu, grandnephew Dayanidhi Maran are walking with the gun carriage, reports The Hindu.
4.41 pm: Karunanidhi’s body is wrapped with the national flag. His party’s flag is placed beside his head, according to The Hindu. Supporters are waving party flags and chanting slogans as they move with the procession.
4.38 pm: The procession turns towards Anna Salai and is now approaching the Periyar statues, reports The Hindu.
4.17 pm: Military personnel are accompanying the carriage with Karunanidhi’s body. His family members are following them in cars, according to The Hindu.
4.10 pm: Karunanidhi’s mortal remains are being taken to Chennai’s Marina Beach.
3.56 pm: The funeral procession has started at Rajaji Hall, reports News18.
3.30 pm: Military personnel arrive at Anna Square for a state funeral with a gun salute, reports The Hindu.
3.23 pm: The Supreme Court refuses to entertain an oral submission by a lawyer for activist Traffic Ramaswamy, who sought a stay on Karunanidhi’s last rites at Marina Beach, reports The Hindu.
2.59 pm: Two people died and 33 people were injured in the stampede-like incidents outside Rajaji Hall earlier in the day, ANI reports. Karunanidhi’s son MK Stalin has appealed for calm.
2.47 pm: Preparations are under way for Karunanidhi’s funeral at Marina Beach.
2.25 pm: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav and Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav are now at the Rajaji Hall to pay tributes to Karunanidhi.
2.06 pm: Two people who were injured during crowd movements outside Rajaji Hall earlier in the day have died, reports The Hindu. One of them has been identified as 60-year-old Shenbagam, from MGR Nagar.
2.05 pm: Karunanidhi’s coffin has an epitaph that says: “A person who continued to work without rest, now takes rest.”
1.54 pm: The funeral procession will begin at 4 pm from Rajaji Hall, confirms the DMK, according to The Hindu.
1.52 pm: MK Stalin appeals to the DMK cadre to remain calm. “I did not want anything for myself, all I want is a fitting tribute to Kalaignar,” he says.
1.41 pm: Police have blocked the entrance at Rajaji Hall but some people are climbing the walls to try to enter the hall, reports ANI.
1.40 pm: The construction for Karunanidhi’s burial has started at Marina Beach, reports ANI.
1.23 pm: The Congress has blamed “proxy callers of Delhi Durbar” for the state government’s initial decision to deny a place for burial at Chennai’s Marina Beach. The Madras High Court ruled against that decision earlier in the day.
1.17 pm: Karunanidhi’s funeral procession is expected to leave Rajaji Hall at 4.30 pm and make its way to Anna Memorial, reports Firstpost.
1.10 pm: The Tamil Nadu government has decided against challenging the Madras High Court order, Advocate General Vijay Narayan tells The Indian Express.
1.01 pm: Police baton-charge the crowd outside Rajaji Hall, News18 reports.
1 pm: There are huge crowds outside Rajaji Hall ahead of Karunanidhi’s burial.
12.56 pm: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also written to Stalin, calling Karunanidhi a “versatile genius” and “exceptional public servant”.
12.44 pm: In a letter to MK Stalin, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi has called Karunanidhi’s death a “very personal loss”. “He always showed me great kindness and consideration, which I can never forget,” she says. “You must draw solace from the fact that your father lived a long and wonderfully fulfilled life.”
12.41 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says she went to Karunanidhi’s residence to pay tributes last night. “He was the senior most leader and politician and a legendary figure, it is a great loss,” she tells ANI.
12.15 pm: Local reports say that huge crowds have gathered near Rajaji Hall. Leaders including former Mayor M Subramanium have appealed to the public to be peaceful, but according to News18, security personnel baton charged part of the crowd after they broke barricades.
12 pm: Puducherry will also have seven days of mourning following Karunanidhi’s death.
11.55 am: Preparations have begun for Karunanidhi’s burial, which will happen later today, say reports. He is likely to be buried beside former Chief Minister Annadurai, The New Indian Express says.
11.50 am: Five people have been injured in a stampede near the Periyar statue on Anna Salai. Two have been admitted to the general hospital, reports The Times of India.
11.15 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays his respects to Karunanidhi at Rajaji Hall before speaking to his children and DMK leaders MK Stalin and Kanimozhi.
11.05 am: Both houses of Parliament have been adjourned out of respect for Karunanidhi.
10.56 am: Karunanidhi’s supporters welcome the court order outside Rajaji Hall.
10.53 am: The court’s order is followed by emotional scenes at Rajaji Hall. Karunanidhi’s son MK Stalin breaks down.
10.44 am: The Madras High Court has issued an order allowing Karunanidhi’s burial at Marina Beach.
10.33 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived at Chennai Airport, reports ANI.
10.29 am: The lawyers for the DMK have made it clear that they are asking for burial at Marina Beach, not a memorial. The court will issue orders shortly.
10.26 am: The government’s lawyer again questions the need to hear the matter urgently, asks how the government can be expected to reply immediately to petitions filed at midnight. The lawyers for DMK say “midnight hearings” have taken place even at the Supreme Court.
10.23 am: Kamal Haasan pays his last respects at Rajaji Hall.
10.18 am: The government’s decision was fair based on the facts and circumstances, argues Vaidyanathan.
10.12 am: The government has great respect for Karunanidhi, but a specific place for burial cannot be a right, says the state counsel.
When the government objects to the urgent hearing of the petition, the court asks: “Shall we adjourn the matter by a week?”
10.11 am: Rapid Action Force personnel have been deployed outside Anna Memorial at Marina Beach, reports ANI.
10.05 am: The government has passed a detailed order which is not under challenge, argues Vaidyanathan.
10.01 am: “Why did not the press release yesterday mention about protocol?” the court asks the government.
9.58 am: DMK lawyers say let’s not follow principles laid down by Karunanidhi when he was the chief minister for the sake of honouring his legacy.
9.55 am: Funeral protocol makes a difference between serving and former office holders, says government’s lawyer. There is no right to seek burial space at a specific place, he argues.
9.50 am: The government’s counsel points out that the arguments made on the Dravidian movement and the right to a “decent and respectful burial” was not mentioned in the writ petition filed by DMK.
9.45 am: Chief Minister Palaniswami took a considered view after taking into account precedent in the matter, says the government’s counsel.
9.40 am: Denial of burial space on Marina does not violate Article 14 (right to equality), says Tamil Nadu government. The distinction between a serving chief minister and former chief minister is a valid classification.
9.35 am: Despite being the biggest leader of the Dravidian movement, Periyar was not buried on Marina, Vaidyanathan argues.
9.33 am: Heated scenes at court after Vaidyanathan says withdrawal of cases against Jayalalithaa’s memorial was stage managed last night. DMK lawyers object to this statement.
9.30 am: Senior counsel for government CS Vaidyanathan commences arguments. DMK is pursuing a political agenda over the matter, he says.
9.28 am: “There are 1 crore DMK followers in Tamil Nadu out of 7 crore population of the state,” says Wilson. “They’ll be offended if burial land is not allotted for Karunanidhi at Marina beach.”
9.23 am: DMK counsel Wilson claims the state is misrepresenting facts. There is no legal bar on allotting burial space for former chief ministers on Marina.
9.19 am: Court asks for a copy of the 2016 state government order granting permission to bury Jayalalithaa on Marina Beach.
9.13 am: Wilson says there is no prohibition under protocol to allot space for burial.
9.09 am: Karunanidhi deserves a decent and respectful burial, says Wilson.
9.08 am: Wilson says if Karunanidhi is not given burial space, sentiments will be hurt. This will also amount to discrimination as Dravidian chief ministers have in the past been given space on Marina, he argues.
9.01 am: Kamaraj and Rajaji memorial are not in Marina but Adyar because their ideologies are different from the Dravidian movement, argues Wilson.
8.57 am: Former Additional Solicitor General P Wilson begins arguments for DMK.
8.46 am: Court records facts of the case and arguments made by both sides.
8.44 am: Several leaders pay their last respects to Karunanidhi at Rajaji Hall.
8.35 am: Court begins dictating orders.
8.29 am: The petitions filed last year challenging Jayalalithaa’s memorial on Marina dismissed as withdrawn.
8.27 am: Court records submission of counsel of activist Traffic Ramaswamy that he has no objection for Karunanidhi’s burial on Marina.
8.21 am: Karunanidhi himself understood the protocol, says the government’s counsel. When he was the chief minister in 1996, former Chief Minister Janaki Ramachandran was buried in Ramavaram gardens and not Marina, he says. The government produces file notings of this decision.
8.18 am: All former chief ministers are given space in Gandhi Mandapam for memorial, argues the government’s counsel. Only those who died when they were serving chief ministers get memorials on Marina Beach. This is according to the established precedent and protocol.
8.11 am: People visit Rajaji Hall to pay their last respects to Karunanidhi.
8.07 am: The AIADMK-led Tamil Nadu government had earlier mentioned legal and environmental challenges against a memorial on the beach. The government’s counsel argued that when former chief minister MG Ramachandran’s wife Janaki, who was also a former chief minister, died, Karunanidhi had made it clear that Marina was only for sitting chief ministers, not all former CMs.
Five petitioners who had challenged former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s memorial have said they were ready to withdraw the case to facilitate Karunanidhi’s memorial.
8.05 am: The Madras High Court resumes hearing DMK’s demand for a spot at Marina Beach for Karunanidhi’s burial. The AIADMK-led Tamil Nadu government serves its counter affidavit.