To enable a million of admirers to have a glimpse of the balladeer

The Assam government on Tuesday postponed the cremation of music legend Bhupen Hazarika till Wednesday morning to enable over a million of his admirers, who thronged the Judges' Field here to have a last glimpse of the balladeer.

The gates of the Judges' Field will be closed to the public at 5 a.m. on Wednesday and the last journey of the music legend to the cremation site on the Gauhati University campus will start at 6 a.m. The government has re-fixed the cremation at 7 a.m.; it was earlier fixed at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

Hazarika's son Punnag Tez Hazarika, who arrived from New York in the morning, was overwhelmed to see lakhs of mourners waiting in serpentine queues for more than six hours to have a glimpse of the Dada Saheb Phalke award winner.

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to arrive here in a special aircraft to take part in the funeral. Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and BJP leader S.S. Alhuwalia, who arrived in the day, paid homage to the music maestro.

Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Paban Singh Ghatowar will be present at the funeral on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Earlier in the morning, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi placed a wreath at the glass-covered mortal remains of Bhupen Hazarika. Mr. Gogoi also placed wreaths on behalf of the Prime Minister and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Later he visited the Nizarapar residence of Bhupen Hazarika to convey his condolences to the bereaved family.

Life in the State came to a grinding halt: traders and businesses downed their shutters; long distances buses did not ply; fuel depots did not function; educational institutions, State government offices, banks and other financial institutions remained shut as the government declared a holiday as a mark of respect to the music maestro.