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Cries Of ‘Amma’ Fill Chennai Air As Lakhs Gather To Pay Last Respects To Jayalalithaa

Top leaders across the country, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hundreds of thousands of people thronged to Chennai on Tuesday to honour Tamil Nadu’s late beloved leader, Jayaram Jayalalithaa

Photo Credit : PTI

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Top leaders across the country, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hundreds of thousands of people thronged to Chennai on Tuesday (06 December) to honour Tamil Nadu’s late beloved leader, Jayaram Jayalalithaa.

Jayalalithaa died overnight following a heart attack a day earlier in Apollo Hospitals.

A sea of weeping mourners surged towards the steps of a public hall where Jayalalithaa's body, draped in the Indian flag, was kept on a raised platform.

Thousands of police officers formed chains to stop the heaving crowd from surging up the steps. Men and women wept, some breaking into loud wails. Several mourners fainted from the heat and dehydration. Police said some had been keeping vigil outside the Apollo Hospital since Sunday and then walked to Rajaji Hall at daybreak.

Draped in her favourite green colour saree, Jayalalithaa's body was taken from her Poes Garden residence early Monday morning to Rajaji Hall where hundreds and thousands of supporters queued up to have a last glimpse of their 'Puratchi Thalaivi Amma' (Revolutionary Leader Amma).

Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and his ministerial colleagues, MPs and MLAs and senior state government officials were among the first to pay homage to Jayalalithaa, who passed away at the Apollo Hospitals here at 11.30 last night after waging a grim battle for life since her hospitalisation on September 22.

Her long time confidante Sasikala Natarajan is by her side. Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu also paid his last respect.

Security has been beefed up at the venue where people lined up to bid a tearful adieu to their 'Amma' (mother) as the 68-year-old leader was fondly called.

Cries of "Amma" rent the air as the public filed past taking a last glimpse of their beloved leader from a distance away from the stairs, where the Tamil Nadu Ministers were seen seated.

Jayalalithaa's body was first taken to her Poes Garden residence in the early hours and then brought to the Rajaji Hall.

The funeral will take place at 4.30 pm at the Dr MGR Memorial site off Marina beach, the state government said in an official communication.