Former defence minister and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was cremated with full state and military honours at Miramar Beach here on Monday. He was the second serving chief minister to be cremated at Miramar Beach after Goa’s first CM Dayanand Bandodkar.
Parrikar suffered from pancreatic cancer for more than a year before losing the battle on Sunday. His final journey was from his residence in Dona Paula to the party headquarters in Panaji, before moving to Kala Academy arts and cultural centre, the state’s culture seat, where his remains were kept during the day.
At the BJP headquarters, the crowd trickled in, some from as far as Pernem in the north and other districts of the state. The queues also saw well-wishers from the capital, including Parrikar’s teacher, 83-year-old Suresh Amonkar, who kept repeating that he had lost his “best brilliant student”.
As the remains being ferried by the military reached the venue, the crowd broke into a loud emotional “bhai” — which they affectionately called Parrikar. The body with the national flag wrapped around it was taken to Kala Academy, where it was accorded state honours. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrived at 2.30 pm to offer their respects. They were seen offering their condolences to Parrikar’s sons Utpal and Abhijat, before leaving for New Delhi. Also seen at Kala Academy were Union ministers Smriti Irani and Suresh Prabhu.
In the afternoon, Congress leaders who went to Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form the government also arrived to offer their final respects to a leader who they said would be missed. Clerics from the Dawoodi Bohra community came in a group and offered their condolences to the family, while nuns followed the archbishop, who came in the afternoon to pay his respects.
Kala Academy saw special attention being given to the security detail, with additional barricades in place as more than 10,000 followers and well-wishers arrived. Finally the remains were moved to Miramar Beach, where Parrikar got the final 14-gun salute, with the national flag given to his sons. His entire cabinet of ministers, allies and opposition leaders stood together as they took turns to lay the wreath.
Also in Goa was Chief Minister of neighbouring Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis. BJP chief Amit Shah who arrived later was seen at Miramar offering a wreath along with officials including Ajit Doval.
Son Utpal lit the pyre at 5.55 pm, with the state bidding farewell to one of its most poplar leaders.
Parrikar is survived by two sons, a daughter-in-law and grandson.