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Sea of humanity salutes Rajkumar

Amid chaos that claimed 5, the mortal remains of Rajkumar were laid to rest. Pay your tributes | Remembering Rajkumar

india Updated: Apr 13, 2006 22:34 IST

In a violence-marred mourning, five persons were killed, including three in police firing and a constable in crowd fury, as Kannada film icon Rajkumar was given a tearful farewell by tens of thousands of people amidst scenes of chaos in an emotionally-charged atmosphere.

As violence flared up before the body of Rajkumar was laid to rest with full state honours, police opened fire leaving two persons dead near Kanteerava Studio complex, the funeral venue, and another before the 10-km long funeral procession began in the afternoon.

A 25-year old constable succumbed to injuries he received in crowd violence and a man died in a stampede near the funeral venue, which was a picture of chaos as frenzied crowds took control of the place and created unruly scenes.

As surging crowds rushed in menacingly, the three sons of Rajkumar, Shivarajkumar, Raghavendra Rajkumar and Puneeth Rajkumar performed the last rites after the police managed to clear the way to facilitate a guard of honour and the rituals.

The mortal remains were buried in accordance with the custom of Idiga community, to which Rajkuamar belonged.

Police firing, bursting of 100 rounds of teargas shells and repeated laticharges failed to check the swelling crowds that breached the security cordons and turned violent, throwing stones, torching a petrol bunk and damaging 25 vehicles.

The funeral procession, which tortuously wound its way, was marred by stone-throwing by a section of crowds which attacked the road-side shops.

At many places, police, who appeared outnumbered, were at the receiving end and seen running for cover.

Appeals by Rajkumar's family and police to the people to remain calm and not give vent to their emotions, fell on deaf ears as thousands broke barricades and thronged the funeral site raising, fears of stampede and unnerving the authorities.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who had to return from the funeral venue for security reasons with the situation getting out control, said sufficient policemen could not be mobilised as forces had been sent from the state to neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Kerala for election duty.

He, however, defended the police, saying they did their best to maintain law and order in the last two days.

Normal life was thrown out of gear in Bangalore where shops and other commercial establishments, schools, colleges, government offices, courts and private companies did not function. Streets almost wore a deserted look with only some vehicles plying.

Earlier, in a steady stream, thousands of mourners filed past the body of Rajkumar paying their last respect to the legendary actor who had endeared himself to millions of his fans in a five-decade long film career and was an iconic figure adored and revered and looked to as a role model.

First Published: Apr 13, 2006 19:13 IST