Bal Thackeray's Body Arrives in Shivaji Park; Security Beefed Up Amid Tensions

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By ambrosia sabrina | November 18, 2012 5:23 PM EST

The funeral procession carrying the body of Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray reached Shivaji Park Sunday morning.

The procession, which began after 9 am, reached the cremations grounds around 11:30 am amid the presence of thousands of party supporters and mourners seeking to bid farewell to the departed leader. Thackeray died aged 86 of cardiac arrest on Saturday.

Supporter carried Thackeray's body, enclosed in a glass case, from his 'Matoshree' residence and placed it in a hearse that will proceed to Shivaji Park. A three-tier-security arrangement, consisting of the Mumbai Police, the Rapid Action Force, and part supporters, were in place for the flower-decked hearse, reported NDTV.

Thackeray's son Uddhav and his family, accompanied by several Shiv Sena leaders, sat on the hearse.

The procession passed through Mahim Causeway, the Sena Bhavan which is the Shiv Sena headquarters and Dadar before reaching Shivaji Park, where the body will be presented for public viewing till 5 am. Thackeray will be given a state funeral and his cremation will take place at 6 pm.  

State officials beefed up security along the procession route and deployed several squadrons of police personnel to maintain peace.

"We have made elaborate security arrangements across the city to avoid any untoward incidents. A force of around 20,000 Mumbai police, along with 15 companies of State Reserve Police and three companies of Rapid Action Force have been pressed into action for security duties," Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh told IANS.

Thackeray's demise prompted a massive shutdown in Mumbai on Saturday. Normal activities had come to standstill, with shops, offices, educational institutions and other establishments closing down as a mark of respect to the leader.  

Transportation also took a hit in the city as most auto and taxi services were called off. Public buses were seen plying across several areas and additional buses will be arranged, reported NDTV.

The situation will likely continue till late Sunday. Mumbai police are urging people to keep calm in the wake of Thackeray's death. "I appeal to people to remain calm and maintain law and order," Commissioner Satyapal Singh said.

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