by fwire Dec 1, 2012 22:45 IST
New Delhi, Dec 1 (IANS) Former prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral was Saturday cremated here with full state honours in the presence of the country's top leadership, including President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Gujral's body, draped in the national tricolour, was brought to Smriti Sthal on the banks of the Yamuna from his 5 Janpath residence in a flower bedecked gun-carriage accompanied by military personnel and close family. Officers from the three armed forces carried the mortal remains of Gujral on their shoulders to the cremation ground as he was accorded a state funeral.
Smriti Sthal, where the cremation took place, is located between Jawaharlal Nehru's samadhi Shanti Van and Lal Bahadur Shastri's samadhi Vijay Ghat.
Amid prayers and a 21-gun salute, Gujral's pyre was lit by his elder son, Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral. Naresh was assisted by his brother, Vishal.
Besides the president and the prime minister, Vice President Hamid Ansari, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah, Minister for Science and Technology Jaipal Reddy, BJP leaders L.K. Advani and Arun Jaitley, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, LJP's Ramvilas Paswan, JD-S' Danish Ali and Amar Singh were present.
Diplomats from various countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Singapore and Russia were also present.
Gujral, 92, breathed his last at a private hospital in Gurgaon Friday afternoon.
He is survived by two sons, Naresh and Vishal, and brother Satish Gujral, a prominent painter and architect.
His wife Sheila died in 2011.
Earlier in the day, the prime minister and a host of leaders visited Gujral's residence to pay homage to him.
In his message, Manmohan Singh said, "In the sad demise of Gujral, our country has lost a freedom fighter, a great patriot and a great scholar statesman. I join the nation in expressing our grief and sorrow at the demise of great son of India."
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