State honours at Sridevi’s funeral, thousands mourn her

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Mumbai, Feb 28 (IANS) The Maharashtra government has decided to accord actress Sridevi full state honours at her funeral scheduled later on Wednesday afternoon, official sources said.

The state honours for the actress, who was conferred Padma Shri in 2013, will include draping her body in the national tricolour, elaborate arrangements by the Mumbai Police, and a gun salute before the cremation.

According to a statement issued on behalf of the Kapoor and Ayyappan families, Sridevi’s body will be kept for three hours at the Celebrations Sports Club in the afternoon to enable people pay their last respects.

The final journey will commence around 2 p.m. to the Vile Parle Seva Samaj Crematorium and Hindu Cemetery at S.V. Road in Vile Parle west, where it will reach around 3.30 p.m.

Meanwhile, several thousands of mourners, including celebrities, Bollywood personalities, politicians and business persons, grieved for the queen of the silver screen Sridevi here on Wednesday.

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Since dawn, thousands of teary-eyed fans and admirers of the late actress, many carrying flowers, had started queueing up outside the Celebration Sports Club at Lokhandwala Complex for a final ‘darshan’ of their idol.

After the flower-bedecked body was brought to the Club premises, a steady stream of celebrities started alighting from their vehicles and were whisked inside to pay their last respects.

Among the early callers were Rekha, Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, Arbaaz Khan, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Akshaye Khanna, Tabu, Farah Khan, Nitin Mukesh, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Vidya Balan, Sushmita Sen, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Madhur Bhandarkar, Deepika Padukone, Sanjay Leela Bhandsali, Jackie Shroff, Farhan Akhtar, Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan, John Abraham, Sulabha Arya, Ajay Devgn and Kajol, among many others.

Earlier, in the past four days since her demise, the Kapoor household had witnessed a steady stream of visitors, including Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Krishna Raj Kapoor, among others.

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Most visitors on Wednesday were sporting dark sunglasses to ward off the harsh early-summer glare, and carrying flowers or small bouquets. They embraced and consoled the bereaved family members, fleeting in from the main entrance and out from the other side as fans tried to catch a glimpse.

Sridevi’s body was flown to Mumbai from Dubai where she died around 11 p.m. on February 24, and from the airport was taken to the Kapoor residence in Green Acres at the posh Lokhandwala Complex.

Despite the late hour, several hundreds of fans kept vigil outside the residence when a motorcade, including an ambulance, reached there late on Tuesday.

Sridevi died following accidental drowning in the bathtub in her hotel room in Dubai around 11 p.m. on Saturday night, plunging millions of Indians and her fans in shocked gloom as the news emerged on Sunday morning.

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For three days, the Dubai police authorities completed various legal and medical formalities before the body was finally handed over to the Kapoor family on Tuesday afternoon.

For the final journey, at the club, and the Crematorium, the Mumbai police have effected elaborate security at various venues, and made special traffic arrangements.

Meanwhile, Green Acres Co-operative Housing Society Limited on Wednesday cancelled Holi celebrations in view of the demise of Sridevi.

–IANS

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