Thousands bid tearful farewell to Union Minister H. N. Ananth Kumar

Bengaluru:  Thousands of people from all walks of life, politicians cutting across party lines and party workers paid their last respects to the departed Union Minister H.N. Ananth Kumar during his last journey at Bengaluru this afternoon.

The 59-year-old Minister, who was ailing from cancer, died in the wee hours of Monday at a private hospital here. Ananth Kumar’s body was brought to the BJP State Unit Office in Malleshwaram from his residence ‘Sumeru’ at Basavanagudi on a flower-bedecked military vehicle at around 9 am. The cortege carrying the glass casket was draped in the national flag.

It was escorted by the City Police on the 10-km-long funeral procession, clearing traffic. The casket was kept in the main hall of the Party Office for public viewing where scores of party leaders and cadres who had arrived from across the State by overnight trains, buses and private vehicles, paid homage.  

Later, the body was taken to the National College Grounds at Basavanagudi where it was kept in state till afternoon.  

Military honours

The Union Minster was given a State funeral with full military honours and 21-gun salute before the last rites were conducted in accordance with traditional Hindu rituals at the Chamarajpet crematorium.    

The last rites were performed by H. N. Nandakumar, the brother of the late Union Minister, in the presence of his wife, two daughters and other family members. Priest M.G. Srinath and his team performed the rituals.  The body was washed with panchagavya, turmeric water amidst chanting of Vedic Mantras and Vishnu Sahasranama.

VVIPs at funeral

Ananth Kumar’s mentor and Veteran BJP leader L. K. Advani, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP National President Amit Shah, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman,  Union Law Minister V. Ravishankar Prasad, Karnataka Legislative Council Acting Chairman Basavaraj Horatti, State BJP President B.S Yeddyurappa, Union Minister D.V Sadanandagowda, Karnataka Minister D.K. Shivakumar,  former CM Jagadish Shettar, RSS leader Bhayyaji Joshi and others attended the funeral and consoled the grieving family members.

Leaders pay homage

Earlier, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Human Resources Minister Prakash Javadekar, State leaders K.S. Eshwarappa, R. Ashok, Union Minister Ramesh Jigajinagi, former CM M.Veeerappa Moily, BJP Karnataka Affairs In-charge Muralidhar Rao, Adichunchanagiri Mutt Seer Nirmalanandanatha Swamiji, and a galaxy of State and Central Ministers,  party MPs, RSS functionaries and others paid their tributes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Suttur Mutt Seer Shivarathri Deshikendra and other leaders paid their last respects to the departed leader at his residence in Basavanagudi last night.

Prime Minster Narendra Modi flew into the city from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and paid last respects to Kumar by placing a wreath on the tricolour-draped glass casket in which his body was kept for public viewing. Modi consoled Kumar’s  wife Tejaswini, their two daughters Aishwarya and Vijeta and expressed grief to Kumar’s siblings — brother Nanda Kumar and sister Suhasini. The Bengaluru Police had made tight security arrangements by deploying hundreds of Police personnel to ensure smooth funeral procession.

The Karnataka government has declared a three-day mourning across the State and one-day public holiday on Monday as a mark of respect to the departed leader.

The national flag flew half-mast on public buildings across the State and all official engagements were cancelled till Wednesday following the declaration of State mourning.

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