Thousands attend Thackeray funeral

Nov. 18, 2012 at 12:43 PM

MUMBAI, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Hundreds of thousands of mourners, including politicians and film stars, gathered in Mumbai Sunday for the funeral of Hindu fundamentalist Bal Thackeray.

Thackeray, 86, died Saturday from cardiac arrest after suffering from breathing problems and pancreatic disease.

Mourners lined the streets leading from Thackeray's Bandra home to Shivaji Park, where his youngest son, Uddhav, lit the funeral pyre, Press Trust of India reported.

More than 20,000 police officers were deployed in the city to keep the peace, and officials warned residents to drive only in an emergency as throngs of people filled the streets. Marketplaces were shut down and taxis stopped operating for the day.

Thackeray was blamed for aggravating tensions between Hindus and Muslims during riots two decades ago in Mumbai, the BBC reported, although he was never convicted of any wrongdoing in the riots.

Thackeray founded the political organization Shiv Sena with the purpose of favoring indigenous residents of Maharashtra state over migrants and to stall the spread of Islam.

Survivors include sons Jaidev and Uddhav.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Texas man killed in apparent alligator attack
Kentucky clerk sued for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses
Police arrest N.C. soldier with assault rifle headed to mall photo shoot
North Korean biochemical weapons researcher defects to Europe
Four accused in slave-labor trafficking ring on Ohio egg farm