Bal Thackeray's last journey begins
The final journey of Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray began with his body being taken out for funeral procession from his residence in suburban Bandra this morning amid presence of thousands of grief-stricken Shiv Sainiks, who have come from across Maharashtra.
The body of 86-year-old Sena leader, who breathed his last yesterday, was taken out of his residence 'Matoshree' in a hearse adorned with flowers.
Thackeray, who was critically ill since last Wednesday, was declared dead last afternoon by Dr Jaleel Parkar who was treating him. The Sena chief had been suffering from respiratory problems and pancreatic disease.
According to doctors, Thackeray passed away at 3.33 PM due to cardiac arrest.
Thackeray's cortège will first go to Sena Bhavan, the party headquarters in Dadar, and the body would later be kept at Shivaji Park for people to pay their last respects.
The last rites will be performed at 6 PM at Shivaji Park, where the Sena patriarch addressed his party workers for over four decades since 1966.
"The state government has already announced that Thackeray will be accorded a state funeral," state Protocol Minister Suresh Shetty said.
Extensive security arrangements have been put in place in the state, particularly in Mumbai, with over 20,000 police personnel deployed in the metropolis to keep a tight vigil.
Security has been beefed up at 'Matoshree' and Shivaji Park with vehicular traffic prohibited in and around the area. Shiv Sainiks have also formed a human chain to enable the procession pass smoothly.
The bereaved Thackeray family is accompanied by several Sena leaders including Manohar Joshi, Diwakar Raote, party spokesperson Sanjay Raut, Neelam Gorhe, Vinayak Raut, Anil Desai, Subhash Desai, senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, among others.