Why was Jayalalithaa buried, and not cremated as per the customs of her community? That question rippled through the State all day and some theories have emerged to explain the decision. Before the funeral, it was generally believed that Jayalalithaa would be cremated and the ashes stored in an urn at the MGR memorial.
The most frequently repeated explanation for the burial was that Jayalalithaa had specifically asked to be buried next to MGR.
According to some officials, Jayalalithaa had on many occasions declared that her mentor MGR has guided her life and career choices, and it was natural for her to pick a spot beside him as the final resting place.
Offering another explanation, a senior AIADMK member said: “Amma is the third CM to have died in office. She was also buried in a manner similar to Anna and MGR, simple,” he said.
Urban planners are claiming that the decision could also have been influenced by a set of regulations relating to CRZ norms, an issue that Jayalalithaa personally took an interest in.
A superstructure, such as a memorial, cannot be constructed this close to the beach, because of these rules.
On the other hand, a cremation on the premises of the existing memorial would also have polluted the existing marble artwork, officials said.
Conducting a cremation in an electric crematorium such as the one in Besant Nagar or in Mylapore would not have been feasible, considering the logistics of transporting her mortal remains with the attendant crowds at the public event, Chennai Corporation engineers pointed out.
Urban planning expert and former IAS officer M.G. Devasahayam said the burial of Chief Minister has not violated any provisions of CRZ regulations. “What they have done today is they have not constructed anything. Problem will arise only if they construct.”