Mass grief as India political star Jayalalithaa buried

1481057581193851000CHENNAI:Mass grief as India political star Jayalalithaa buried

Hundreds of thousands of mourners paid an emotional final farewell Tuesday to Indian politician Jayalalithaaa Jayaram as the former movie star was buried alongside her screen lover.

A day after the 68-year-old died following a massive weekend cardiac arrest, huge crowds lined the street of Chennai as Jayalalithaaa’s coffin was taken to its final resting place in India’s main southern city.
Mourners clambered onto statues, trees and soft drinks stalls that lined the city’s Marinna beach, eager to view the cortege. Television put the number of mourners at around one million.
Despite being twice jailed over allegations of corruption, the woman known simply as Amma, or mother, was a revered figure in her fiefdom of Tamil Nadu state and one of India’s most popular and successful politicians as a populist champion of the poor.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew to Chennai to pay his own respects, streams of her supporters lined up outside a hall in the city center where her casket was on display.
While the coffin was wrapped in an Indian flag, many of the mourners were wearing scarves with the red, white and black colors of Jayalalithaa’s party.
Many of the women mourners screamed hysterically and wept, although there were no reports of serious unrest amid a large security presence.

“It is a very sad day. She was an essential part of the state. She was meant for greatness,” said Christina Paun, a 34-year-old university professor who was among those queueing to pay their respects.
“She had a very difficult life in a male-dominated society but she was always different. She was always great. She had perfect control over her emotions.
“She has left a big void and we will have to see if someone can fill her shoes.”
Famed for a vast sari collection that won her comparisons with Imelda Marcos, Jayalalithaa was also one of India’s most polarizing politicians, seen by some as an autocratic and secretive leader.
But nothing could dent her popularity in Tamil Nadu, where she was elected chief minister on four occasions in a period when it became one of India’s most prosperous states.
Jayalalithaa first made her name starring in movies alongside M. G. Ramachandran, who later became her political mentor before his death nearly 30 years ago.
Although most Hindus are cremated, Jayalalithaa had requested in her will that she be buried alongside her former co-star in his memorial building.
As her coffin was lowered into the ground inside the mausoleum, thousands of petals were scattered on top

source arabnews

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