The Madras High Court order allowing DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi’s burial at the Marina beach led to emotional scenes at Rajaji Hall, where his body is currently placed for the public to pay their last respects. Karunanidhi’s son and party’s working president MK Stalin and other senior leaders burst into tears hearing the order. Karunanidhi passed away at the age of 94 at Kauvery Hospital last evening, where he was admitted after his health deteriorated two weeks ago.
The court granted permission to bury Karunanidhi behind Anna Samadhi — the memorial of his mentor C N Annadurai — on Marina beach on Wednesday. Following this, Tamil Nadu Advocate General Vijay Narayan informed that the state government will not challenge the court’s order.
The court had commenced hearing an urgent plea filed by DMK lawyers at 10.30 pm on Tuesday seeking space near Anna Samadhi for their leader. The hearing was resumed at 8 this morning after the government sought additional time for arguments. The government opposed the plea citing pending cases against burial space at the Marina. It had instead allocated two acres of land at Gandhi Mandapam in Guindy.
The government had stated in court that the memorial should not be allowed on Marina beach as Karunanidhi was not a sitting chief minister at the time of his death. It also referred to pending cases, which had challenged burials on the grounds that it violated rules of the coastal regulatory zone, which do not allow any new construction within 500 metres of the high tide line.
Hours after his father’s demise, Stalin wrote an emotional poem for his father asking: “This one time, can I call you Appa?” In the poem, Stalin recounted how he addressed his father as ‘Thalaivare’ (leader) more than father.
“Thirty-three years ago you decided the words to be written upon your headstone, ‘Here lies he who worked without any rest’. Did you leave with the satisfaction of having worked for this Tamil community?” Stalin asked, adding that Karunanidhi ran non-stop for 80 years to serve the public. “I beg for that strength and for the heart you borrowed from Aringar Anna. Will you give it to me, Thalaivare? With that charity, we will win over your unfulfilled wishes and dreams,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, several leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Chennai to pay their last respects to Karunanidhi.