Thousands thronged the state assembly building in Kolkata on Tuesday for a last glimpse of Communist icon Jyoti Basu and flung floral garlands and wreaths at the body to pay their tribute. Some elderly people, women and children fainted due to the near-stampede conditions, police said.
While dignitaries were allowed to go near the body of Basu to pay their respects as it lay in state on a raised pedestal in the assembly premises, the common people milling there were told to hand over their floral offerings to the police. However, the people began to throw their floral offerings at the body, adding to the confusion.
According to police, around 150,000 people had already paid their respects at the assembly complex till around 3 pm.
The body of Basu was to be moved from the assembly at 3 p.m. for its onward journey, but the authorities could not do so due to the tremendous crowds.
Even the media corner was "hijacked" by the crowds, said a media person. "We don't know how we will be able to move from here," a reporter remarked.
KD Ganguly, a 75-year-old resident of Uttarpara, left his home early in the morning. Asked how he managed to come at his age, Ganguly said: "Age does not matter, the feeling for the person matters."