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Kalaignar Karunanidhi passes away at 94: Ten things to know

Karunanidhi passes away at 94: As the news of passing away of one of the most charismatic leaders of Tamil Nadu came trickling in, thousands of supporters mourned the loss. The last rites of the DMK chief were conducted with full state honors on Wednesday evening on Chennai's Marina beach.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 8, 2018 6:42:09 pm
Karunanidhi passes away at 94 DMK leader Karunanidhi passed away on Tuesday evening (PTI)

Five-time Tamil Nadu chief minister and DMK president M Karunanidhi passed away on Tuesday evening following a prolonged illness. He was 94. As thousands of supporters mourned the loss of one of the most charismatic leaders of Tamil Nadu and country, a controversy erupted over the place where he will be buried after the ruling AIADMK government refused to allot space at Marina beach. The DMK moved the Madras High Court, which, in a rare late-night hearing, ordered the government to take a stand. The court Wednesday allowed the burial of the Dravidian leader at the Marina beach.

Political leaders including Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee went to Chennai to pay their respects to the DMK chief.

1. DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi was admitted to Kauvery Hospital in Chennai following a drop in his blood pressure. “With deep anguish, we announce the demise of our beloved Kalaignar M Karunanidhi on 07.08.2018 at 6.10 pm. Despite the best possible efforts by our team of doctors and nurses to resuscitate him, he failed to respond,” said a statement of the hospital released at 6.40 pm yesterday.

Follow live updates on Karunanidhi’s funeral in EnglishTamil

2. The announcement triggered mourning across Tamil Nadu. Many of the supporters gathered outside the hospital and some in the crowd lit the cellphone torches as a mark of respect for the departed leader. A general alert has been sounded across the state and security tightened at vital places to tackle any law and order situation, officials said. Cries of “Ezunthu Vaa Thalaiva (arise leader and come),” rent the air as DMK supporters bearing the red-and-black party flags broke into feverish chants hailing the stalwart.

3. Multiple political leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah, Mamata Banerjee, Pinarayi Vijayan, Tamil Nadu Chief Eddapaddi K Palaniwami expressed their anguish on Karunanidhi’s death. Many of them are expected to reach Rajaji Hall in Chennai to mark their respect for the five-time Tamil Nadu CM. Tamil actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan also paid tribute.

Read | Road ahead for post-Karunanidhi DMK: New rivals, battlelines

4. Hours before Karunanidhi’s death, M K Stalin met Chief Minister E K Palaniswami to request that his father be buried near Anna Samadhi, the memorial of DMK founder C N Annadurai. The EPS government refused permission citing legal reasons and instead offered two acres of land at Gandhi Mandapam. The DMK moved Madras High Court demanding that Karunanidhi be lad to rest at Marina — C N Annadurai, M G Ramachandran, and J Jayalalithaa–are buried.

Karunanidhi passes away at 94 Chennai: An ambulance carries the mortal remains of DMK chief M Karunanidhi for his residence, in Chennai (PTI)

5. The Madras High Court on Wednesday allowed Karunanidhi’s burial at Marina beach. The AIADMK government said it couldn’t allot space at Marina beach because of “pending cases and legal complications.” The five petitioners, who had challenged construction on the Marina, had withdrawn their pleas, saying they weren’t opposed to Karunanidhi’s memorial near Anna Samadhi. On hearing the judgment, DMK working president M K Stalin, who is at Rajaji Hall with the body, broke down.

See Pics |  Rare and unseen photos from his political journey

6. The Tamil Nadu government announced a seven-day mourning following Karunanidhi’s death. The Indian national flag would fly half-mast during this period and all government-related functions would be cancelled, Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan said. A national holiday has also been declared for today.

7. Karunanidhi’s body was meanwhile taken to his residence in Gopalapuram till 1 am and then to his house in CIT colony for family members to pay their homage. His body is draped with the National flag and is kept in a glass cage at Rajaji Hall for VIPs and public to pay homage. Thousands from across the state have thronged to Rajaji Hall to bid farewell to the former Tamil Nadu CM.

Karunanidhi passes away at 94 Prime Minister Narendra Modi expresses his condolence to DMK leaders M.K Stalin (C) and Kanimozhi (L) on the demise of their father and DMK chief M Karunanidhi, in Chennai (PTI)

Also read | Karunanidhi: Champion of social justice who left his mark in Delhi

8. Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned today after leaders paid respect to Karunanidhi. This is the first time Parliament has adjourned for a leader who was never an MP. Karunanidhi was a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for six decades. He served as chief minister for five terms and as president of the regional party for 50 years.

9. Karunanidhi’s final procession took place at 4 pm. He was accorded a state funeral and buried next to Anna Samadhi at Marina beach.  His coffin bore the words: “Oyamal uzhaithavan, idho ingu oiveduthukondirukiran” (The man who slogged ceaselessly is now taking rest here). However, two people were killed and several injured in a stampede outside Rajaji Hall where thousands of supporters had gathered to catch a glimpse of Karunanidhi.

10. Karunanidhi, whose public life spanned over eight decades. is survived by two wives and six children, including DMK working president and heir apparent M K Stalin and daughter Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP. His first wife had predeceased him.  In an emotional tribute addressed to him, Stalin recounted how he addressed his father as ‘Thalaivare’ (leader) more than father. “This one time, can I call you Appa?” he asked.

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