Bal Thackeray - Illness and Death - Funeral


He was accorded a state funeral. The funeral procession was held on 18 November 2012, at Shivaji Park, Dadar, at the same location where Thackeray had held many political rallies. On the day of his death, Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh said: "I appeal to people to remain calm and maintain law and order. Citizens should step out of the houses only if it is urgent;" He added that further arrangements were organised at Shivaji Park due to the expectant crowds and arrival of VIPs. People came from across Maharashtra for his funeral including the party's strongholds of Thane, Raigad, Pune, Aurangabad and Konkan regions. Police said that 200,000 people walked alongside the hearse and were later joined by others on the way to the cremation site. The media also indicated that non-Hindus, such as Muslim women and Christians, were mourning and joined the procession. His body was wrapped in the tricolour flag after the body was taken from its glass case on a truck that was decked with flowers. The truck also carried his daughter-in-law Rashmi and grandson Aditya, while his son, Uddhav, was seen in tears on television broadcasts, and his estranged nephew, Raj, was also present but walked behind the hearse after getting off the truck to join the procession. The cortege's route stopped at Sena Bhavan (his party's headquarters in Dadar, before proceeding to Shivaji Park for the cremation where over 2,000,000 mourners attended his funeral, with his cremation taking place just after 18:00 the next day. His son, Uddhav, lit the pyre. His nephew, Raj, was also seen in tears. The funeral included state honours, such as a guard of honour and a 21-gun salute.

VIPs at his cremation included: Maharshtra Cheif Minister Prithviraj Chauhan, Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan; BJP MPs L. K. Advani, Maneka Gandhi, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Gopinath Munde and Madhya Pradesh Chief Menister; and Nationalist Congress Party MPs and cabinet members Praful Patel and Sharad Pawar, as well as his daughter, Supriya Sule. Others included Amitabh Bacchan, Anil Ambani, Sanjay Dutt, fellow Maharashtrians Nana Patekar and Mahesh Manjrekar. His funeral ceremony was broadcasted live across all national television channels, including the vernacular media.

The government's decision to allow the use of Shivaji Park for cremation generated a debate. The government of Maharashtra allowed his funeral to take place at Shivaji Park due to the size of the expected crowd; it was the first public funeral in the city since that of Bal Gangadhar Tilak's in 1920.

In the neighbourhood of Palghar in the Thane district, two women were arrested under hate speech laws in India and the IT Act for writing the comment People like Thackeray are born and die daily, and one should not observe a bandh for that on Facebook. One of the girls was arrested for posting the comment, while the other girl was arrested for 'liking' the comment. The arrest came after a complaint was made concerning the two girls at the local police station. Subsequent to the arrest, both were granted bail on surety of 15,000 (US$273). Kapil Sibal said that he was deeply saddened by arrest of the two girls over the Facebook post questioning shutdown for Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. Kapil Sibal stated that it is just their point of view and law should not ban people from expressing their views. This statement of Sibal, India's former Union Information and Technology minister was described as a former web censor turning into an advocate for freedom of expression.

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