Bal Thackeray's last journey begins

Mumbai, Nov.18 (ANI): Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's final journey from his Bandra home, 'Matoshree', to Shivaji Park has begun amid the presence of thousands of supporters, who have come from all across Maharashtra.

Thackeray's is being carried in a glass box on a flower bedecked truck. The body will be taken to Mahim Causeway, then to Sena Bhavan, the Shiv Sena headquarters in Dadar where Thackeray's A-list fans and friends, prominent leaders as also Sena workers are expected to gather, to the Meena Tai statue in Dadar and finally to Shivaji Park.

Thackeray's body will be kept at Shivaji Park till 5 p.m for people to pay their respects. His last rites will be performed at 6 p.m

Security has been tightened across Maharashtra to prevent any untoward incident that arise as news of Thackeray's death filters through. In Mumbai, 48,000 security personnel have been roped in to maintain a tight vigil during the day of the funeral.

At Matoshree, presently, there is a three-tier security that includes the Mumbai Police in the first layer, the Rapid Action Force (RAF) in the second and Shiv Sena volunteers in the third.

According to reports, taxis and autorickshaws will remain off the roads today. There will be no cab and autorickshaw services from the city airports - domestic and international - either. BEST has decided to operate extra buses to facilitate travel for the last rites of the Sena leader.

The Central Railway has also cancelled the megablocks on Central and Harbour line services for the same purpose.

Bal Thackeray, who was critically ill for the past few days, passed away at his residence 'Matoshree' on Saturday. He was 86.

"He had suffered a cardiac arrest. We could not revive him despite our best efforts. He breathed his last at around 3:30 PM," Dr Jalil Parkar, who treated the Sena supremo, told reporters.

Thackeray had been suffering from respiratory problems and pancreatic disease. He is survived by sons Jaidev and Uddhav, who is the Executive President of the party. (ANI)