Kannada legendary actor Rajkumar laid to rest
Bangalore, Apr 13 (UNI) Lakhs of grief-stricken fans of the doyen of Kannada tinselville Rajkumar bid a tearful adieu to their icon as his mortal remains were laid to rest with State honours at the State-owned Kanteerava Studios here this evening.
The celebrated actor's eldest son, Shivrajkumar, performed the last rites, witnessed by Rajkumar's wife Parvathamma and other sons -- Raghavendra and Puneet. Ninety rounds of gun shots were fired to pay respects to the departed soul.
The entire funeral procession, which took nearly five hours, was marred by violence, chaos and confusion.
The cortege took a tragic turn when four people were killed in police firing to quell irate fans in two places. While one person was killed when the procession started, three others met their end when police opened fire to disperse a frenzied mob which indulged in arson and stone throwing.
Several people, including policemen, sustained injuries in stone throwing incidents and were rushed to nearby hospitals.
Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy could not make it to the funeral as police advised him against it owing to the deteriortaing law and order situation.
Deputy Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa paid floral tributes to the thespian at the gates of the Studios and returned as per police advise.
Earlier, the flower-bedecked hearse meandered from the Kanteerava Stadium, where the body lay in state as thousands of fans filed past the body paying homage to the illustrious son of the State, to the burial venue in Kanteerava Studios. The actor's family members, friends and some film personalities accompanied the body in the van. Right from the morning, police had a harrowing time in containing the mob and repeatedly burst teargas shells. Fans indulged in stone pelting, torched three BMTC buses and damaged over 20 vehicles, including a police van, at the Stadium.
The surging crowd attacked the Yeshwantpur police station after the body of Rajkumar passed it, set a vehicle belonging to a Deputy Commissioner of Police on fire and damaged a number of police vehicles.
At the burial site in the Studios, police were no match for the frenzied mob, which indulged in a stone throwing spree and attempted to break barricades. Several prominent personalities, including cine stars, were shifted to a safer place inside the Studios by the police as the situation went out of control. The mob even set a police jeep afire.
Dispersing after the last rites, the irate mob torched scores of vehicles and a petrol bunk. Police reinforcements were rushed to G G Palya near the Studios to bring the situation under control.
Earlier, a steady flow of mourners filed past the body since morning. Prominent among those who paid homage included noted Tamil actor Rajnikant, Maharashtra Governor S M Krishna and Chief Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh and Karnataka Governor T N Chaturvedi. Scores of tinsel world artistes were also among those who paid last respects to the departed soul.
The Karnataka Government had declared a two-day mourning since yesterday as a mark of respect to the thespian. All business establishments and educational institutions remained closed.