|Friday, April 14, 2006|
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Violence that erupted on Wednesday afternoon, claimed eight lives and left hundreds injured till Thursday night. For a man who had led a disciplined life, it was a hurried funeral.
Frenzied fans who refused to let go of the cortege ensured that family members just interred the body with no elaborate state honours and adequate last rites. However, his three sons went back to the samadhi of their father to complete the rituals they were unable to perform earlier.
As many as 90 rounds were fired in the air as a salute to the thespian. In a solemn and sombre mood, the body draped in the tricolour was lowered in a tarpaulin-lined grave. Rajkumar’s body was buried in a 11x6 foot grave amid shouts of “Rajkumar ki jai” around 5:45 pm. The five-hour, 14-km procession was brought to an abrupt end.
Rituals were performed as per Idiga tradition by Hindu priests led by Veda Brahma Bhanu Prakash Sharma of Srirangapatna.
Rajkumar donned his last role on Thursday. As he sang in Bhagyavantha, it was “vaara banthamma guruvaara banthamma, rayara neneyamma guru raayara neneyamma.” His reel role made an entire generation to turn to Guru Raghavendara. In the real world, on the blessed Guru Poornima day, lakhs of fans refused to turn away from their living God.
Most refused to leave the burial ground, as they were still unable to catch that one last glimpse.
Chief Minister H D Kumaaraswamy could not make it to the funeral as police advised him against it owing to the deteriorating law and order situation. “I was eager to pay my last respects to the thespian but I decided against it as it would have caused inconvenience to the public,” said Mr Kumaaraswamy.
“I watched the funeral ceremony live on television and paid my tributes to the actor,” he added.
Raj’s wife Parvathamma, accompanied by personal physician Dr Ramana Rao and three sons – Shivarajkumar, Raghavendra and Puneet – alone were able to make it to the burial spot, with great difficulty. Daughters Lakshmi and Poornima, daughters-in-law Geetha, Mangala and Ashwini missed out although they were in the studio complex.
Later, Mrs Parvathamma regretted that none of the traditional rites of the funeral ceremony could be conducted properly. “Fans claimed him as their property and we let it be. I could not even see him properly for the last time,” she added.
Amid swirling dust, strewn flowers and burning police vehicles in the periphery, politician and relative S Bangarappa climbed onto the cortege for a last look at the mortal remains.
Thousands thronged the venue since Thursday morning. People sat on roof-tops of buildings, on trees and atop vehicles hours before the body was to be brought in a procession from the Kanteerava stadium, where it was kept since last night, for the people to pay their homage.
The body was brought to the studios in a flower-decked carriage at 5:30 pm. Moments after the body reached the venue, mobs broke through the barricade to gain entry to the funeral. They later started pelting stones at police personnel. Police lobbed nearly 150 teargas shells and resorted to caning to disperse the crowds. They even resorted to firing in the air to bring the situation under control. But they could not restore order.
The actor’s son Raghavendra Rajkumar appealed to the fans to help in conducting the rituals. “Make way for my mother to come to the venue,” he appealed in vain.
Filmstars and other important personalities, meanwhile, were bundled into police vans as clashes broke out.
Film stars Arjun Sarja, Devaraj, Kumar Bangarappa, Sumalatha, Ambarish, Bharati, Vishnuvardhan, B Saroja Devi, Srinath, Anirudh, Leelavathi, Vinod Raj, Saroja Devi, Vijaya Raghavendra, Sudha Rani, Nagendra Babu, Shruti, Malashree, Murali, Ramesh Aravind, S Narayan, Sudeep, Shivaram, Ramanath, Ramesh Bhat, Sunder Raj, MP Shankar, Shashi Kumar, Jai Jagdeesh and Dwarkeesh.
Music directors Gurukiran and Hamsalekha, Director Girish Kasarvalli and Rajendra Singh Babu, film chamber head Gangaraju, writer Bargur Ramachandrappa, former minister HM Revanna and HK Patil, Karnataka Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph, Governor T N Chaturvedi, Maharashtra Governor S M Krishna and Chief Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh, and Telugu producer D Rama Naidu.
Congress leader C K Jaffer Sharief, deputy chief minister BS Yediyurappa, ministers R Ashok, Katta Subramanya Naidu and Ramachandra Gowda were among those present.
Scores of tinsel world artistes, legislators, industrialists and people from all walks of life were among those who paid their last respects to the departed soul.
*Body kept at Kanteerava Stadium till 12:30 pm
*Body taken via Kasturba Road, Hudson Circle, K R Circle, Basaveshwara Circle, Highgrounds, Mekhri Circle, Yeshwanthpur Circle, Goreguntepalya
*5.30 pm for cortege to reach Kanteerava Studio
*Body buried at 5:45 pm
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