Sea of humanity bids YSR tearful farewell

Departed Chief Minister laid to rest in family estate

Sea of humanity bids  YSR tearful farewell

Last Rites: Y S  Jaganmohan (left), son of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, with his mother  Vijayalakshmi, performs the final rites  at their Idupulapaya estate on Friday. AFP

With grief in their hearts, a sea of mourners, some weeping bitterly while others breast-beating, gathered to participate in the last rites.

People turned up in such large numbers that the roads leading to Idupulapaya were jammed for a distance of more than five kilometres preventing several Cabinet ministers and Opposition leaders like N Chandrababu Naidu and K Chiranjeevi from reaching the spot. Film star Mohan Babu who was caught in the jam in his vehicle got on to a motorbike to beat the jam but could not make it.

Earlier in the day, the country’s top leaders, led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, paid their last respects to YSR in his official residence in Hyderabad. They placed wreaths on YSR’s body and wrote condolence messages in a condolence book. The leaders arrived here early this morning by a special flight.

Later, the body wrapped in Tri-colour, was put on an open army truck decorated with flowers and taken to the Lal Bahadur Stadium to enable the public to pay their last respects.

The huge multitude of people who turned up became uncontrollable, forcing the police to use force to restore order. Shouting “YSR Amar Hai” the crowd jostled for a last look, creating a stampede-like situation. The body, however, was moved out earlier than planned to be taken to Idupulapaya. The YSR family apologised to the people and explained that weather forecast for Idupulapaya was the reason.

YSR’s mortal remains, accompanied by his son Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, were brought to Idupulapaya in an IAF helicopter. The late chief minister’s family members, including his widow Vijayalakshmi, went into the chopper to pay their last respects. After performing the last rituals, the coffin was lowered onto the ground at 5.20 pm, bringing to a close one of the most eventful chapters in the state’s recent history.

After his death was confirmed on Thursday, large pictures of YSR were placed at every crossroad and garlanded by people. Union ministers including P Chidambaram, S M Krishna, A K Antony, Veerappa Moily, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Prithviraj Chauhan, Chief Minister Sheila Dixit,  and Ashok Gehlot met with Reddy’s family members and conveyed their condolences. Opposition leaders L K Advani and Venkaiah Naidu, former PM H D Deve Gowda and former Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy paid  respects.

Meanwhile, the last rites of two close aides of YSR, Principal Secretary P Subrahmanyam, 56, and chief security officer A S C John Wesley, who accompanied him onboard the ill-fated helicopter, were performed at Nellore and Ongole, respectively, in Prakasam district.

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