Live: Voluntary shutdown in Maharashtra today

by FP Politics  Nov 18, 2012 23:00 IST

#Bal Thackeray   #Mumbai   #NewsTracker   #Shiv Sena  

11.08 pm: Voluntary shutdown in Maharashtra tomorrow

Trade associations in Mumbai and Maharashtra have called for a voluntary shutdown Monday as a mark of respect for Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray, who passed away Saturday afternoon.

A statement by the Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM) called upon the trading community to observe the shutdown and observe 'Shraddhanjali Day' Monday.

"The state of Maharashtra and the trading community has lost a true friend and a well-wisher. Balasaheb was a great son of the soil and a true nationalist who minced no words to express his views," said FAM president Mohan Gurnani.

The retails and wholesale jewellery market - Zaveri Bazar - and all other jewellery units will also remain shut Monday.

Shiv Sena, however, denied having called a shutdown. "The shutdown call is purely voluntary. We have not called for any kind of shutdown," party spokesperson Anil Parab told IANS.

Auto rickshaws and taxis might ply.

All educational institutions, including schools and colleges, will also remain closed on Monday owing to the call given by various bus owners' associations of the city and state.

Public transport including city buses and local trains will ply as usual throughout the city and state.

7.27 pm: Mumbai cabs will ply if cities are calm

The Mumbai taxi association has said that taxis will ply tomorrow if the sitation remains calm.

There has been no bandh call from the Shiv Sena yet.

7.00 pm: Mumbai retail and wholesale jewellery shops to be shut on Monday

Latest reports coming in suggest that while there has been no official bandh call for Monday, retail and wholesale shops in Mumbai's zaveri bazaar will be shut tomorrow.

No word on taxis and autos as yet.

ABP News TV had this update:

6:00 pm: Thackeray given a gun salute, final rites begin

As part of the state funeral for the Shiv Sena chief the Mumbai police conducted a 21-gun salute and also played the final march for him. Following that the final preparations were made on the funeral pyre.

After a long day accompanying the hearse, supporting Uddhav, Raj Thackeray breaks down as Uddhav lights Balasaheb's pyre. Much like his cousin in the morning, Raj is seen crying inconsolably as Bal Thackeray's pyre goes up in flames and strains of a Hindu hymn being sung fill up Shivaji Park.

Chants of Amar Rahe and Jab Tak Suraj Chaand Rahega echoe from all corners of Shivaji Park.

5.50pm: Uddhav, Raj stand together to bid farewell to the Thackeray patriarch

People familiar with the political graph of the Thackerays know too well that Raj and Uddhav have nurtured a mutual animosity towards each other, ever since Maharashtra Navnirman Sena posed a veritable threat to the Shiv Sena. Not very long ago, Uddhav had even accused Raj of hijacking their issues and agendas.

However, in a delicate show of familial emotion, Uddhav, who has been pretty distraught throughout the ordeal, was seen leading Raj by his hand to perform certain rites together.

5.41pm: The Thackeray family stands together to bid adieu to its patriarch

When Uddhav was seen performing the puja, Raj was spotted attending to the guests. After Uddhav presumably completed a part of his puja and left the side of the body momentarily with his son Aditya, Raj came over standing guard at the head of the body. True to his character, Raj was seen holding fort, talking to security personnel and mourners.

However, in one rare moment of emotion, Raj was seen gently stroking the forehead of his deceased uncle.

Uddhav returns to complete the rest of the rituals and has a brief word with Raj, before proceeding towards the pyre.

5.3opm: Thackeray's mortal remains being laid down on the pyre

The last rites of Balasaheb Thackeray begin. The leader's body is laid down on another makeshift bed of flowers. Accompanied by weeping relatives, Uddhav, now retaining his composure starts performing a puja that precedes the lighting of the funeral pyre.

Thackeray's public cremation, the first of its kind in Mumbai in a long time, will take place right at the heart of the park where the Shiv Sena supremo addressed his first political rally decades back. The pyre decorated with rose petals and marigold has been set up by the Sainiks who worked on it all morning.

After Uddhav is done with a part of the puja, Raj takes over and stands at the head of the body, talking to the supporters and meeting mourners.

5.05pm: Balasaheb's hearse reaches Shivaji Park, people pay their last respects

Soon after Raj Thackeray makes an appearance at Shivaji Park, Balasaheb's cortege follows. A visibly weary Uddhav Thackeray walks before the procession and uniformed policemen escort the leader's remains on to the bed of flowers where people queue up to pay their last respect with flowers and wreathes.

From Sanjay Nirupam, who had dumped Shiv Sena in the nineties to LK Advani, Maharashtra CM Prthviraj Chavan, Arun Jaitley and all the other VIPs who have turned up, pay their respects to the deceased.

In a rare show of solidarity, Uddhav and Raj greet guests together and accept their condolences. They are seen standing together, conversing between talking to and thanking mourners. While there was no overt show of emotions, the Thackeray cousins were seen going through the tragedy together, prompting TV channels to suggest a patch-up between the two.

A file photo of Bal Thackeray. AFP

4.52 pm: Raj Thackeray reaches the venue of the funeral

A sudden rush of activities ensues as Raj Thackeray, who had walked along the procession with a coterie of followers separately and then had taken a detour to reach Shivaji Park and oversee arrangements, coming back to the park. Reports suggest that he had left the procession in between, though his wife was constantly with the bereaved family.

With more political leaders turning up every second, the security cordon around the VIP entrance has been beefed up.

4.32 pm: As cortege heads for Shivaji Park, VIPs start trooping in to pay their last respects

While Amitabh Bachchan was seen sitting with Anil Ambani, awaiting the arrival of the cortege at Shivaji Park, other political dignitaries and celebrities were seen queueing up to pay their last respects to the leader. LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Shahnawaj Hussain, Subhramanian Swamy were seen huddling together. Nitin Gadkari, Sharad Pawar were spotted exchanging pleasantries with each other.

Later, Nana Patekar, Riteish Deshmukh, Madhur Bhandarkar were also seen coming in at Shivaji Park.

The cortege, which was slated to reach Shivaji Park at 10 am, is way behind time and is still headed towards it. With the final rites scheduled to start at 6pm, chances of the lakhs of civilians waiting at the park, to pay their respects, seem slim. They will probably have to see him off in a hurry and from a distance.

4.18 pm: Politicians/celebrities at Shivaji Park for Thackeray's final rites

With the cortege finally reaching Shivaji park, political leaders and Bollywood celebrities are also arriving at the venue to pay their last respects.

Amitabh Bachchan and Anil Ambani were seen at the venue, as were the entire BJP leadership. There was however, no sign of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Praful Patel and several NCP leaders were also present.

3.56 pm: Sena volunteers clear path from Shiv Sena Bhavan to Shivaji Park

Shiv Sena volunteers have cleared a path from Shiv Sena Bhavan to Shivaji park so that the vehicle bearing Bal Thackeray's body will be able to make it to Shivaji Park in time for the final rites.

The cortege has left the bhavan and is expected to reach the park very shortly.

The body was originally slated to be on display at Shivaji Park for several hours, but that is slated to be cut short, and will only be on display for only about an hour, as final rites will have to be conducted before sundown.

3.27 pm: Thackeray funeral procession in race against time

The Thackeray funeral procession is in a race against time to reach Shivaji Park, after a delay of several hours following the presence of unprecedented crowds.

The body was supposed to reach Shivaji Park by 10am for public darshan, but has only just reached the Sena Bhavan in Dadar. However the Mumbai police have said that the leader's last rites will have to be conducted by 5pm.

Doing this is likely to be extremely difficult, given the size of the crowd and also the fact that many political leaders including Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj and Congress MP Rajiv Shukla are waiting at the park to pay their last respects.

Sena volunteers are now assisting police in clearing crowds outside the Sena Bhavan.

An estimated 20 Lakh people are on the streets accompanying the cortege, and this number is expected to swell once the body reaches Shivaji Park.

Nephew Raj Thackeray is at the park, overseeing arrangements with MNS workers.

3.15 pm: Cortege reaches Sena HQ, only family allowed inside

The body of Bal Thackeray has finally reached the Shiv Sena Bhavan hours behind schedule, and was taken inside with a few family members and senior leaders of the Shiv Sena.

The general public and media were not allowed inside the bhavan, in what is to be a private moment for the family.

Uddhav Thackeray addressed the crowd saying, "We are taking our God into his mandir. Please stay calm"

Meanwhile, a message by Mahasrashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has been read out to the lakhs of people accompanying Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray's body to Shivaji Park.

The message called out to the people to maintain calm, especially given the presence of women, children and senior citizens in the crowd.

So far despite the massive numbers, the crowd has been largely disciplined and no untoward incidents of violence have been reported. The Mumbai police in fact has come in for great praise for its handling of the situation.

3:00pm: Shiv Sena mouthpieces Saamna and Dopahar Ka Saamna printed with black cover pages

Saamna (in Marathi) and Dopahar Ka Saamna (in Hindi), Bal Thackeray's preferred newspapers, also considered mouthpieces for his party, have been published with black cover jackets today, as a mark of mourning.

According to a DNA report, both the newspapers, which had Thackeray at the editorial helm, are also sporting thick black outlines on all their pages and the reports have been published on a grey background.

Reports on IBN Live claim that Mumbai police chief Satyapal Singh has called off his daughter's wedding reception which was supposed to take place around today.

14.50 pm: Procession delayed due to lakhs of people lining streets to pay their last respects

Bal Thackeray's funeral procession, whic was supposed to reach Shivaji Park so that people could pay their respects, is still stuck at Matunga, a few kiloemtres away from the park. With lakhs of people lining the sidewalks and spilling over to the streets, the cortege is moving very slowly, as a Times Now reporter notes, at a speed of less than 1 kilometer/hour.

Thackeray's funeral is slated to start at 6pm after civilians, politicians and other VIPs have paid their respects.

A lot of appreciation is pouring in for the Mumbai Police and the way they have managed crowds - the 20 lakh odd people waiting at Shivaji Park, lining the hearse car's route and following it. No untoward incident has been reported, the crowd has stayed calm and even as emotions ran high, this didn't let the leader's last journey be marred by skirmishes or trouble. A handful of selected Sena leaders like Manohar Joshi are expected to meet the family and pay their respects at the Sena Bhavan in Dadar.

The body is yet to reach Sena Bhavan, where according to reports, it will remain for at least half an hour for Sainiks to visit and Shiv Sena members to salute their deceased leader.

12.55 pm: Raj Thackeray leaves funeral procession, to rejoin at Shivaji Park

News reports coming in that Bal Thackeray's estranged nephew, MNS leader Raj Thackeray has left the funeral procession and headed back to his residence.

Significantly, Raj did not travel with Bal's body on the truck that was carrying the body from Matoshree to Shivaji park.

However media reports are indicating that he was simply avoiding a minor detour to Shiv Sena bhavan, and would rejoin the procession once it reached Shivaji park.

Meanwhile Shiv Sainiks are being diverted from Dadar to Shivaji park, and the party has reportedly put out a call for volunteers to assist police with crowd control so that the procession can move forward.

The cortege is reportedly stuck near Paradise cinema near Mahim at the moment en route to Sena Bhavan.

Neither the media nor the Shiv Sainis will be allowed inside the Bhavan. It will be only kept there for a couple of minutes before it resumes its journey towars Shivaji Park.

Modi to be present at funeral
Narendra Modi will be present at Balasaheb Thackeray's funeral. According to a report on Headlines Today, the Gujarat chief minister was very keen to visit Thackeray during his illness. Sushma Swaraj is already on his way and had expressed 'shock' over Thackeray's death before boarding her flight. "I was supposed to meet Balasaheb ji today itself at 12 pm. The irony of the turn of events is shocking," said Swaraj.

Shiv Sena had an alliance with the BJP in Maharashtra and Thackeray had once commented that Sushma Swaraj was a perfect Prime Ministerial candidate.

The cortege is said to have reached the Sena Bhavan, the Shiv Sena headquarters in Dadar now.

11.05 am: Twitter mourns Balasaheb's demise

While lakhs decided to come out of their homes and accompany the Shiv Sena supremo on his last journey, several others took to Twitter to express their solidarity with the family and followers of the deceased leader. From expressing awe at how many people seemed to have turned up to catch a last glimpse of Thackeray to reiterating the fact that there must have been something about the leader, accused to be divisive and communal, for having attracted that massive a crowd in death, Bal Saheb Thackeray seems to have taken over Twitter posthumously.

Shivaji Park and RIP Bal Thackeray being the top trending topics, the social media too seems to be awestrcuk by the kind of following Bal Thackeray seems to command.

Twitter user Aditya Soman seems to sum up the feelings succinctly:

10.35 am: Show of strength by the Shiv Sena

Though not a premeditated one, Bal Thackeray's final journey turned out to be a massive show of strenght by the Sena and their supporters. Given Raj Thackeray is an integral part of the proceedings, one can assume that the Mahanirvan Sena too might have turned up in full force to pay their respects to the Shiv Sena chief. A rough estimate by TV channels revealed that there are at least one lakh people in the procession following the cortege, which is now passing through Mahim.

Reports also suggest that no less than 5 lakh people have already turned up in Shivaji Park, reiterating that fact that Bal Thackeray was a leader of the masses like no other in a very long time.

10.25 am: Raj Thackeray follows cortege with the crowds

Raj Thackeray, who was the first from the family to have stepped out before the media and the crowds Shiv Sena leader passed away, is reportedly not on the truck carrying the cortege. According to reprorts, Raj if following the hearse with his associates. The police have built a security cordon around him as he follows the procession to Shivaji Park. Raj's wife is travelling with Uddhav Thackeray and the rest of the family in the truck.

9.55 am: Mumbai follows Bal Thackeray on his last journey

Mumbai comes out in full force to show their last respect to Balasaheb Thackeray. The cortege inches forward through a sea of humanity waving Sena flags and cut-outs of Thackeray. Top political leaders are expected to turn up to pay their last rescpects.

While shops, markets and most other establishments have shut down following Thackeray's death, no violence or skirmishes have been reported from anywhere. The Shiv Sena leaders. including Uddhav Thackeray, had been continually appealing to their followers to maintain calm. From the crowds which seem to be peacefully following Thackeray's cortege, seems like the appeals have worked.

9.20 am: Balasaheb Thackeray's cortege leaves his residence

Almost two hours after the scheduled time and moments after Raj Thackeray was spotted stepping out of Matoshree, the Shiv Sena supremo's hearse is brought out of his residence. Crowds seem to have gone berserk as policemen are seeing trying their best to escort the family safely out of the crowd. However, Uddhav Thackeray, accompanied by his son Aditya doesn't seem too annoyed by the swelling crowds. People are seen jostling for space and pushing each other to catch one last glimpse of their leader. Senior Sena leaders are seen rallying around the family.

As the senior Thackeray's hearse is brought out, Uddhav breaks down briefly and is seen breaking into tears before getting back his composure within seconds.

Decked with flowers and wrapped in a tricolour, Thackeray's cortege inches forward as in a spectacular show of adulation, thousands milling around the hearse car are seen throwning flowers and chanting slogans. There seems to be not an inch of space left anywhere near the cortege as the sea of humanity seems to press forward for a closer look at their departed leader.

9.00 am: Raj Thackeray to lead Bal Thackeray's funeral procession?

After what seems like quite a bit of a delay, TV reports suggest that Balasaheb Thackeray's cortege might be finally ready to leave Matoshree. In a first since yesterday, a family member, Raj Thackeray made an appearance before the crowds. He stepped out of Matoshree and was seen giving directions to his associates and was also seen waiting outisde taking stock on the situation, promption the television channel reporters to suggest that Raj Thackeray might be leading the procession.

Meanwhile, crowds have started swelling both outisde Matoshree and Shivaji Park as preparations for Balasaheb's last rites too seem to have started in the park with the setting up of what seems like a pyre. The last rites are supposed take place at 6pm.

 

8.45 am: State guard of honour for Thackeray at Matoshree

According to a Times Now report, the state guard of honour will be given to Thackeray right outside Matoshree, his residence in Kalanagar, Bandra East in Mumbai. Following which his cortege will proceed to the Sena Bhavan in Dadar, but his body is least likely to be kept there to avoid crowds and chaos.

Meanwhile traffic continues to be thin in city with reports of halted supplies of groceries coming in. Twitter user Seemant informs that there's no supply of fresh milk, fruits and vegetables anywhere in Mumbai.

8.35 am: Sushma Swaraj on her way to Mumbai

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj is on her way to Mumbai from Delhi to pay her last respects to Bal Thackeray. CNN IBN caught up with her at the airport where she says that the Shiv Sena leader's death came as a big jolt to her. "When I enquired last, I was told that his health was improving, that would probably be back. However, yesterday news came in that he is no more. I am taking a 9 am flight to Mumbai to pay my last respects. But I'll always live with the pain of not getting to meet him one last time before he left us," said Swaraj.

8.10 am: Entertainment channels blocked in parts of Mumbai

According to a CNN IBN flash, entertainment channels, provided by local cable operators have been blacked out by Sena followers. Cinema halls will be shut as expected, but in parts of Mumbai, local cable operators have decided to block all entertainment channels provided by them as a sign of mourning possibly.

7.45 am: Crowds start filling into Shivaji Park

Though the police have not issued any formal estimate of the crowd that is expected to follow Bal Thackeray's cortege or turn up at Shivaji Park, estimates floating around in Twitter peg the same at no less than 20 lakh. While Thackeray's cortege doesn't seem to have left Matoshree yet, the police have already taken position at Shivaji Park and the route the procession will take.

According to an NDTV report, there'll be 20 policemen every 100 metres of the route which the cortege will take to Shivaji Park. The same report puts the number of policemen deployed aross the city and around the funeral procession to 50,000. Apart from which 15 companies of CRPF have been deployed too.

Crowds have already started filling into Shivaji Park since early as 6 in the morning.

 7.15 am: Thackeray's cortege will remain in Shivaji Park till 5pm for public visits

Expecting a massive turn-out of people wanting to pay their last respects to Shiv Sena supremo Balsaheb Thackeray, his family and party have decided to keep his cortege in Shivaji Park from 10 am onwards till 5 pm. The funeral procession is expected to leave Matoshree, Thackeray's residence in Bandra East and reach Shivaji Park by 10 am, following a few halts. His last rites are expected to be performed in the park itself at 6pm.

The police has already closed VS Marg from 6 am and Tilak Bridge, too will remain closed for the day.

The Udayan Ganesh entrance to the park has been reserved for family, friends and acquaintances of the deceased. Political leaders and other VIPs are scheduled to enter the premises through the same.

The DNA report says: "People visiting Shivaji Park to pay their respects will be allowed entry from the Meenatai Thackeray statue gate and the Samarth Vyayam Mandir gate. Arrangements have been made for a separate queue for women from the Samarth Vyayam Mandir gate."

8.45 pm: Mumbai at standstill, braces for Thackeray funeral tomorrow

With Mumbai at a near standstill, police and public service officials are bracing for the public display of Thackeray's body and his funeral, which will take place tomorrow.  The Shiv Sena leaders body will be kept at Shivaji Park to enable millions of party activists and Mumbaikars to pay their last respects to the leader from 8 am Sunday, party MP Sanjay Raut told reporters.

According to the latest available information, Thackeray's body will be taken from Matoshree to Shivaji Park at 7 am, and the procecssion is expected to take at least three hours. It will be kept there for darshan till 5 pm, until the cremation which will also happen at Shivaji Park.

The Mumbai police commissioner said that over 30,000 policemen would be deployed for security

BEST has decided to operate extra buses from 7am tomorrow from various locations and railway stations to Shivaji Park, till the permitted point. The Mumbai taxi owners association has said no autos or taxis will ply tomorrow, although there is no word on trains.

8.30 pm: Mumbai police ask people to stay home

The Mumbai Police have advised people to stay at home, given the situation in the city following the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray. The police issued an advisory which said, "Citizens should only step out of houses only is there is an emergency. Avoid Western Express Highway. Certain restrictions on traffic movements in the city especially from Bandra to Dadar. Only essential travel/commute is advised. An appeal is made to people to maintain calm and peace."

Trains are still plying across the city, but buses, taxis and autorickshaws are largely off the roads. CNN IBN reported that BEST has pulled out 272 AC buses from the roads while one lakh autos and 30,000 taxis disappeared from the streets.

8.20 pm: Gurudwaras to stay open for people stranded in the city

Blogger Taranjit Singh updated on Twitter that most gurudwaras all over Mumbai will remain open till the situation in the city returns to normal. He mentioned that the langar or the kitchens will be open all night and people who fail to find transport have the option to stay the night at the gurudwaras.

We found a list of all the gurudwaras in Mumbai, several of whose phone numbers have been put down by the site. Here's the link to the list.

Here's what Taranjit wrote:

7.45 pm: No prepaid taxis, autos from Mumbai airport

The Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport is in a state of chaos, as the airport has shut down all prepaid and other taxi services. Instead a series of announcements are telling passengers that the airport will arrange for buses to drop them at nearby railway stations, after which they will have to manage by themselves.

7.30 pm: Crowds swell at Matoshree, Shiv Sena appeals for calm 

Crowds outside the residence of the late Bal Thackeray are swelling as more and more people gather there to pay their final respects to the Shiv Sena supremo. Police presence outside Matoshree has been strnegthened, and Times Now reported that outside security agencies were also being called there in an effort to maintain law and order.

The Shiv Sena has appealed to its activists to maintain calm, co-operate with the police and not target the media.

6.30 pm: #CarpoolMumbai on Twitter helps stranded commuters

Even as Mumbai grinds to a halt and taxis and autos stop plying, concerned Mumbaikars are rallying on Twitter to help stranded commuters. The hashtag #CarpoolMumbai which was coined minutes after the announcement of Thackeray's death, is being used by those with private vehicles who are willing to give lifts, and also those who may be stranded in the city.

A few sample tweets are reproduced below:

You can follow all the tweets around the hashtag here

6.00pm: Shiv Sena appeals for calm

The Shiv Sena has appealed to its activists to maintain calm, co-operate with the police and not target the media.

Shops are shuttering across Mahim and Dadar near the Shiv Sena Bhavan in the wake of Thackeray's death. We were able to get the following image from Mahim West:

Over 20,000 policemen have been deployed across the city and the Mumbai police commissioner has also appealed for calm.

5.40 pm: Prime Minister expresses grief at Bal Thackeray's passing

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has condoled the passing away of Shri Bala Saheb Thackeray and canceled his scheduled dinner with Opposition leaders, according to the PMO India Twitter handle. He also appealed for calm.

https://twitter.com/PMOIndia/status/269776015088304128

https://twitter.com/PMOIndia/status/269772678553014273

In his condolence message the Prime Minister said, "For him the interests of Maharashtra were particularly important and he always strived to inculcate a sense of pride in its people. He founded the Shiv Sena and built the party into a formidable force in the State politics with his strong leadership.

He was a consummate communicator whose stature in the politics of Maharashtra was unique. The passing away of Bala Saheb will be deeply felt by his family and followers."

BJP President Nitin Gadkari and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi gave live televised statements a short while ago, mourning the loss. Gadkari said that Thackeray's loss would be deeply felt by the BJP and the nation, while Modi said that with Thackeray's death the nation had lost one of its greatest free thinkers.

5.34 pm: Bal Thackeray's body to be kept at Shivaji park

The body of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, will be kept at Shivaji Park to enable millions of party activists and Mumbaikars to pay their last respects to the leader from 7 am Sunday, party MP Sanjay Raut told reporters.

Raut also appealed to all Shiv Sainiks to "maintain calm and remain peaceful" in the wake of the tragedy which has befallen them.

Shivaji Park in south-central Mumbai is the same place where 46 years ago, Thackeray addressed his first Dussehra rally and continued the annual tradition virtually uninterrupted till his death Saturday.

5:20 pm: Mumbai begins to close down following the announcement, funeral tomorrow

The city which had shut down a couple of days when the Shiv Sena chief's ill health had deteriorated.

The Shiv Sena has announced that the party's supporters can see Thackeray one last time tomorrow morning at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai. The body will be kept there for around three hours after which the final rites will be carried out.

The party has also appealed to all activists not to gather at the Thackerays residence in suburban Bandra.

5:15 pm: BJP expresses condolences

The BJP has expressed its condolences over the demise of Bal Thackeray and said it was a loss for national politics, the NDA. The party has said that he lived life on his own terms. That he did.

5:00 pm: Bal  Thackeray passes away

Jaleel Parkar, doctor for Bal Thackeray came outside Matoshree and announced that the Shiv Sena chief breathed his last at around 3.30pm.

"He had gone into cardio-respiratory arrest and we attempted to revive him but were unable to do so," Parkar said.

The doctor said that the members of the family were grieving and could not address the press. He appealed to Shiv Sena activists to maintain calm.

The doctors had attempted to revive Thackeray but had failed to.

Security outside the Thackerays residence has been beefed up even before the announcement was made. The city has been on tenterhooks over the last week over rumours of his worsening condition.