Bengal bids tearful adieu to Sandhya Mukherjee
KOLKATA: Bengal bade a tearful farewell to iconic singer Sandhya Mukherjee as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, other dignitaries and thousands of people walked a few kilometres along with the hearse that carried her mortal remains to the crematorium.
The legendary singer's cremation was performed with full state honours at the Keoratala crematorium on Wednesday evening and her mortal remains were consigned to the flames after the Chief Minister and several other politicians and film personalities paid their homage at Rabindra Sadan. She was given a gun salute at the crematorium.
Earlier in the day, during a rally in North Bengal, the Chief Minister said Mukherjee was not given her due respect by the Centre on time. Without naming the Centre, she said: "It will be no exaggeration if we call her 'Bharat Ratna'. She did not get her due. Only a 'Padma Shri' cannot match the love people had for her. She deserved the award much earlier. There are a couple of awards, which were never conferred on her." Incidentally, the Centre had wanted to confer 'Padma Shri' on her a few days ago but she had readily refused to accept it.
The entire state mourned the demise of the singing legend with musicians and film personalities remembering her contribution throughout the day. Her body was taken to Rabindra Sadan from the Peace World (mortuary), a little before 11 am and it was kept there for over five hours so that people could have a last glimpse.
Chief Minister Banerjee after her return to the city paid floral tributes to her mortal remains along with other dignitaries. Banerjee curtailed her North Bengal tour and returned to the city on Wednesday afternoon.
Thousands paid a teary adieu to the legendary singer with many people standing on either side of roads, showering petals on the way. Apart from the Chief Minister, Minister of State for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya, Tourism minister Indranil Sen and many others walked along with the hearse. There was a police pilot in the front and popular numbers of the singer were played out while covering the entire stretch from Rabindra Sadan to the crematorium. The procession reached the Keoratala crematorium a little before 6 pm via Harish Mukherjee Road and Rashbehari Crossing. Younger generations and the elderly were seen standing on both sides of the road to have a last look. A large number of people thronged the roads from where the cortege passed.
The outside area of the Keoratala crematorium was barricaded for the cremation proceedings and due to Covid-related restrictions only a limited number of people were allowed inside. Gun salute was given at around 5.55 pm before her mortal remains were put into the funeral pyre. Banerjee finally left the crematorium at around 6.39 pm.
The Chief Minister also paid floral tributes to a portrait of legendary composer and singer Bappi Lahiri at Rabindra Sadan on Wednesday, after he passed away on late Tuesday night at a private hospital in Mumbai.