New Delhi: Pranab Mukherjee’s funeral will take place today with full military honours. The former President, who had tested positive for the coronavirus, died on Monday, weeks after his brain surgery. He was 84.
The government and many states have announced seven-day official mourning.
Pranab Mukherjee’s body has been taken to his official home in Delhi, 10 Rajaji Marg, for people to pay their last respects.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited his residence and paid their last respects.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and the chiefs of the three services also paid homage to the former president.
The Defence Ministry, in a statement last evening, gave details of wreath laying by dignitaries, politicians and others.
Because of COVID-19 protocol, the body of the former President will be taken for last rites in a hearse van instead of the gun carriage. The funeral will take place at the Lodi Road crematorium.
In a statement, the home ministry said as a mark of respect, there would be state mourning throughout India from August 31 to September 6.
“During the period of state mourning, the national flag will fly at half-mast on all buildings throughout India, where it is flown regularly, and there will be no official entertainment,” the statement said.
The veteran, widely respected across the spectrum and described as the elder statesman of Indian politics, served as foreign and finance minister in several governments.
Yesterday, PM Modi posted a photo of him touching Pranab Mukherjee’s feet in reverence. “He has left an indelible mark on the development trajectory of our nation,” PM Modi said in a series of tweets.
“A scholar par excellence, a towering statesman, he was admired across the political spectrum and by all sections of society,” he wrote.
India’s 13th President, Pranab Mukherjee was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour, in August last year.
“My passion has been the service of the people of India,” Pranab Mukherjee, widely known as “Pranab-Da”, said in a speech summing up 50 years in public life when he left the office of president in 2017.