Tamil Nadu

Karunanidhi funeral: Three die in melee at Rajaji Hall

A view of the multitude at Rajaji Hall where the mortal remains of former DMK chief Karunanidhi is kept on August 8, 2018.

A view of the multitude at Rajaji Hall where the mortal remains of former DMK chief Karunanidhi is kept on August 8, 2018.   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

Three people died and several mourners were injured on Wednesday during a melee at Rajaji Hall, where the body of DMK leader M. Karunanidhi was kept for the public to pay homage.

People surged on to the steps, trying to get close to the casket. When the police resorted to intermittent lathicharge to clear the crowd, a stampede-like situation ensued. Around 51 suffered injuries and breathlessness and were admitted to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH).

Shenbagam, 60, of MGR Nagar, and an unidentified man, aged around 60, were brought dead to the hospital around 11.20 a.m. Saravanan, a 37-year-old man, suffered a heart attack while standing in the crowd and died in the hospital around 4.45 p.m.

“We have to conduct a post-mortem to ascertain the exact cause of death for both victims,” said a hospital source.

In the evening, a youngster fell from a tree he had climbed to catch a glimpse of the cortège. He sustained head injuries and has been admitted to the RGGGH for treatment.

Final resting place

The crowd started swelling especially after the announcement that the Marina had been allotted as the final resting place for Mr. Karunanidhi, close to 11 a.m. Wild cheers went up after the news broke, and in a burst of enthusiasm, many tried to push through the barricades, and climb on to the stairs.

Some people fainted too and had to be helped outside. Post-noon, the crowd surged and became stronger. DMK working president M.K. Stalin later appealed to the crowd to maintain decorum, and to not indulge in any violence. As the situation went out of control, A.K. Viswanathan, Commissioner of Police, arrived at the scene and attempted to restore order.

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Printable version | Jul 3, 2020 4:41:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/two-dead-and-many-injured-at-rajaji-hall-where-karunanidhis-mortal-remains-lie-in-state/article24631609.ece

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