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George Fernandes' cremation to be held today; ashes to be buried in cemetery: Wife

George Fernandes died on Tuesday at his residence after prolonged illness. He was 88.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Published on: January 31, 2019 6:50 IST
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George Fernandes

The cremation of former defence minister George Fernandes will be performed in Delhi on Thursday and his ashes will be buried at the Prithviraj Road cemetery the day after, said wife Leila Kabir on Wednesday.

To offer condolences to the bereaved family, mourners continued to stream in at his residence, Shanti Niwas, in the city's upscale Panchsheel Park, a day after his death.

"There will be a prayer ceremony at our residence tomorrow at 11 am where people can come and pay their respects before his final journey. And, as planned the cremation is to be held at 3 pm at the Lodhi electric crematorium," Kabir told PTI.

"The ashes will then be buried the next day at the Prithviraj Road Christian Cemetery," she said.

The colonial-era cemetery is located in the heart of the city in Lutyens' Delhi.

Fernandes' body has been preserved in a casket after embalming as his son, Sean, is yet to arrive in Delhi from the US.

"Sean is travelling and his flight is expected to land in Delhi at around 2 AM. We are all waiting for him," Fernandes' younger brother Michael Fernandes said.

George Fernandes died on Tuesday at his residence after prolonged illness. He was 88.

A number of leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajanth Singh, BJP president Amit Shah and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, had visited the bereaved family at their residence on Tuesday to pay their respects.

Several leaders, veteran politicians and his admirers, from Mangaluru to Muzaffarpur converged at the residence on Wednesday as well to pay tribute to the departed leader. 

A pall of gloom continued to hang over his residence, while police security personnel kept vigil outside.

Some less known facts about George Fernandes:

Fernandes was a key member of the Janata Dal and was also the founder of the Samata Party. In addition to defence, he held several other ministerial portfolios including communications, industry and railways.

A native of Mangalore, he in 1949, moved to Mumbai, where he joined the socialist trade union movement. In the 1967 parliamentary elections, he defeated S K Patil of Congress from the South Bombay (now south Mumbai) constituency. 

During the Emergency era of 1975, Fernandes went underground while challenging Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for imposing a state of emergency. In 1976, he was arrested and tried in the infamous Baroda dynamite case.

Due to investment violations, during his tenure as union minister, he ordered American multinationals IBM and Coca-Cola to leave the country. 

During his tenure as railway minister from 1989 to 1990, he was the driving force behind the Konkan Railway project. 

Between 1998 and 2004, he was a defence minister in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government, when the Kargil War broke out between India and Pakistan. 

During Fernandes’ tenure, India conducted its nuclear tests at Pokhran. 

Fernandes had been surrounded by various controversies, including the Barak Missile scandal and the Tehelka affair. From 1967 to 2004, George Fernandes won nine Lok Sabha elections.

(With PTI inputs)

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