Government, Rajkumar family relieved as Puneeth’s funeral goes off peacefully
Lakhs of Puneeth Rajkumar fans descended on Bengaluru for his funeral, but there was no trouble as friends and family said their final goodbyes to the actor
With the memory of violence and loss of life and property when thespian Dr. Rajkumar died in 2006 weighing heavily on everyone’s minds for the past three days, both the State Government and the Rajkumar family heaved a sigh of relief on Sunday as the funeral of Puneeth Rajkumar, which saw lakhs of his fans descend on the city, passed off peacefully.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and the Rajkumar family thanked each other and credited the fans of the actor for behaving responsibly and ensuring there was no violence.
The Government moved the mortal remains of the departed actor from Sree Kanteerava Stadium, where they had been kept for public viewing since Friday, before sunrise, two hours before the announced time of the procession, to prevent people from thronging the streets. The body was already at Sree Kanteerava Studio by sunrise. “We consciously took the call for security reasons,” said City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant. It effectively avoided crowds and provided some privacy to the late actor’s family members to conduct the last rites, unlike for Dr. Rajkumar in 2006.
Puneeth’s elder brother Raghavendra Rajkumar said the family was relieved there was no violence during the past three days. “We are also citizens first and do not want to cause trouble or inconvenience to any member of the public. We still mourn the lives lost to violence when my father died. We are happy that such incidents did not recur with Appu (Puneeth),” he said. His brother Shiva Rajkumar thanked the State Government for the “excellent arrangements made” and thanked Puneeth’s fans for behaving responsibly.
Mr. Bommai and Home Minister Araga Jnanendra appreciated the efforts of the city police and the civic body in managing the sensitive occasion with all grace and ensuring no untoward incident occurred. An estimate put the number of people who paid their last respects to Puneeth Rajkumar at over 10 lakh. “I appreciate the efforts of our police force, the BBMP, and the Revenue Department in maintaining peace. I also thank Dr. Rajkumar’s family for cooperating with us through the difficult time,” Mr. Bommai said.
Mr. Jnanendra called constable Ganesh Nayak, who broke his leg on Friday night in a scuffle at the stadium when the mortal remains of the actor were first brought in — the lone incident during the three days — and assured him that all his medical expenses would be borne by the authorities.