Former president R. Venkataraman, who passed away on Tuesday, was cremated with full state honours in New Delhi on Wednesday afternoon as President Pratibha Patil led the nation in paying last respects to the leader.
The body of the 98-year-old Venkataraman was consigned to flames at the Ekta Sthal, on the banks of the river Yamuna, at 5 pm.
Besides President Patil, a large number of dignitaries paid floral tributes to the former president. Among them were Vice-President Hamid Ansari, former president A P J Abdul Kalam, former vice-president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, External Affairs Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Defence Minister A K Antony, three Service chiefs Admiral Sureesh Mehta, General Deepak Kapoor and Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, Leader of opposition in Lok Sabha L K Advani, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit and several union ministers and leaders of political parties.
For Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is recuperating after a heart surgery Saturday, Minister of State Prithviraj Chavan paid floral tributes.
Venkataraman passed away at the Army Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi on Tuesday.