Pranab Mukherjee cremated with military honours amid COVID-19 protocol
An ambulance leaving for the Lodhi Road Crematorium with the mortal remains of former President Pranab Mukherjee from his 10 Rajaji Marg residence in New Delhi on September 1, 2020. IANS

Pranab Mukherjee cremated with military honours amid COVID-19 protocol

New Delhi, September 1, 2020

Former President Pranab Mukherjee, who passed away here at the Army's R&R Hospital on Monday at the age of 84, was cremated with full military honours on Tuesday afternoon at the Lodhi Road crematorium in a ceremon that followed strict COVID-19 precautionary protocol.

His son Abhijit Mukherjee performed the final rites accompanied by a 21-gun military salute. Only close family members were allowed to enter the crematorium unlike previous cremation ceremonies of such dignitaries, and those handling the mortal remains of Mukherjee wore PPE kits.

Earlier, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a galaxy of top political leaders who paid floral tributes to the departed soul at his 10, Rajaji Marg residence.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat were among those who joined the rest of the nation in bidding adieu to the former President.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP President J.P. Nadda, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, CPI General Secretary D.Raja, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and many others paid homage to Mukherjee, who passed away on Monday evening after weeks in coma following a brain surgery.

The mortal remains of the 13th President were brought to his residence from the Army Research and Referral Hospital around 9.30 a.m.

In keeping with the military tradition, the three service chiefs placed wreaths on Mukherjee's body before politicians cutting across party lines paid their floral tributes.

The tricolour that was wrapped around Mukherjee's body was removed and given to his family before the last rites.

The government has announced a seven-day State mourning from August 31 to September 6 as a mark of respect to the leader. The tricolour is flying half-mast on all buildings throughout the country. There will be no official entertainment during these seven days.

IANS

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