MUMBAI: Shiv Sena chief Bal Keshav Thackeray, the flagbearer of Hindu nationalism and regional chauvinism who did not hesitate to resort to mob tactics to have his will enforced, died here on Saturday at 3.30pm. He was 86.
Thackeray’s doctor, Jaleel Parker, made the announcement at 4.55pm outside Matoshri, his residence, that was as much the city’s landmark as a place of pilgrimage for millions of supporters throughout the state.
The mortal remains of Thackeray will be consigned to the flames on Sunday evening at the crematorium beside Shivaji Park, revered as “Shiv Tirth” by Shiv Sainiks in Maharashtra, a party official said.
“Thackeray’s body is at present kept at Matoshri. Tomorrow morning, around 7.30am, it will be taken to Shiv Sena Bhavan for party workers to pay their respects. From there, it will be taken to Shivaji Park where the public can pay their last respects from 10am,” party MP Sanjay Raut told mediapersons.
Elaborate arrangements were being made by an army of workers at Shivaji Park for the sea of humanity expected Sunday, also a holiday.
Mumbai Police are also making fool-proof security arrangements in Bandra, along the entire route to Shiv Sena Bhavan, the party headquarters in Dadar West, and to the Shivaji Park.
Raut said public “darshan” (visit) would be allowed from 10am to 5pm at Shivaji Park. Later, the funeral will be held at crematorium nearby.
He again appealed to all grieving party activists to “maintain peace and remain calm” in the wake of the tragedy that has befallen the party and the Thackeray family.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the death of Thackeray. Singh cancelled a dinner for BJP leaders scheduled Saturday ahead of parliament session following Sushma Swaraj’s request.
Amitabh Bachchan and singer Lata Mangeshkar. described Thackeray as a man of grit and purity.
Several other names from the Hindi film industry, including Mahesh Bhatt, Ram Gopal Varma, Madhur Bhandarkar, Kabir Bedi and Riteish Deshmukh took to Twitter to share their sentiments on the death of the politico.
Indo-Asian News Service