Chandy to be laid to rest sans state honours as per last wish
Earlier, the state cabinet, while condoling the death of Chandy, had decided to accord all official honours for the funeral scheduled to be held at St George Orthodox Church in Puthupally on Thursday
Former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy, who died at a private hospital in Bengaluru on Tuesday, will be laid to rest without official state honours on Thursday as per his last wish.
The request was communicated to the state government by Mariyamma, Chandy’s widow, in writing. Only religious rituals would suffice and there was no need for official honours, the former CM had reportedly told his wife before his death.
Chandy Oommen, his son, told a local TV channel, “Before leaving for Germany for medical treatment, my father had told my mother that he should not be accorded state honours for his funeral. That was his last wish and we have to fulfill it. My mother has communicated the same to the state government.”
Earlier, the state cabinet, while condoling the death of the veteran Congress leader, had decided to accord all official honours for the funeral scheduled to be held at the St George Orthodox Church in Puthupally around 3 pm on Thursday. Later, the CM asked the state chief secretary to speak to the family about it.
Meanwhile, the funeral procession of Chandy, who served as the state’s CM twice from 2004 to 2006 and then again from 2011 to 2016, slowly wound its way through the heavily congested MC Road from Thiruvananthapuram to Kottayam on Wednesday. Although the mortal remains were expected to reach the Thirunakkara ground in Kottayam by afternoon for public viewing, the procession crawled slowly as thousands of supporters and well-wishers lined up on both sides of the road to pay their tributes. Some held lit candles while others threw flowers as a low-floor AC bus, carrying the remains, passed through. Television visuals showed many, from pregnant women to physically disabled to elderly men and women, waiting for hours to catch a last glimpse of a leader who enjoyed wide support for his genial character and accessible nature.
“All arrangements are in place but the schedule is not in our control. Since his life was lived among the masses, the people have thronged in large numbers on the way to pay their respects. It’s taking longer than expected, but we believe the bus carrying his body will reach Kottayam by 10 pm. It will be placed in Thirunakkara ground and then later taken to his ancestral house in Puthupally,” senior Congress leader Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan told reporters.
Baselios Marthoma Mathews III, the head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, will officiate the funeral rituals. A special grave has been dug within the church compound to erect a monument for the veteran leader.