Tamil Nadu

Crowd behaviour showed who had led them

"The bandobust turned out to be more a formality to protect the VIPs under various security scales rather than crowd management."

The leader in > A.P.J. Abdul Kalam showed them the way for the last one decade and a half. In the last two days, his followers showed the world what his leadership had given to them — discipline.

For the size of the crowd — over a lakh — that swarmed the > little island of Rameswaram in the last two days to pay homage to the > Missile Man, the discipline they displayed throughout Wednesday and Thursday is a new culture for the political and other outfits of the State. Never in the recent past any congregation of such magnitude in the southern districts showed such discipline in conducting themselves.

At the end of the two-day mourning, the deployment of a large number of police personnel drawn from different parts of the State looked more for the significance of the occasion — the funeral of the former President of the world's largest democracy and the visit of high-profile leaders like the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Governors and Chief Ministers of various States. “The bandobust turned out to be more a formality to protect the VIPs under various security scales rather than for crowd management,” a police officer said.

Be it the near 2,000 crowd at Mandapam, who patiently waited under the sun to receive the mortal remains of the son of the soil on Wednesday afternoon, or the thousands who silently stood for nearly five hours at Rameswaram later in the day to pay their last respects, the crowd gave no anxious moments to the police.

Neither was there any scuffle nor any quarrel among themselves or with the police personnel over attempts like jumping the queue. At one point of time — around 8.30 p.m. on Wednesday — the serpentine queue wound through the vacant ground for nearly 1500m.

Significantly, no drunk person was seen creating any ruckus in the pretext of giving vent to agony over the departure of his most beloved leader of the town.

Even the chaos on the road on Wednesday, to a large extent, could be attributed to the huge number of vehicles and the larger congregation in a relatively smaller place with a single entry and exit to the island from the mainland.

Even the motorcade that carried the mortal remains from Mandapam to Rameswaram and back to the burial ground did not have madly-honking cars or the rash riding of motorbikes.

Not only at the venues of mourning, but also on other parts of the town the crowd behaved well.

Though over an estimated 10,000 people had gathered around the burial ground, they remained calm for most part of their long wait till the body reached the ground at 11 a.m. A section of the crowd surged forward to have the last glimpse of the departed leader.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 8:57:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/former-president-apj-abdul-kalam-last-rites-crowd-behaviour-showed-who-had-led-them/article7481067.ece

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