Former deputy chief minister Sudhir Mahto’s funeral procession in Bistupur, Jamshedpur, on Friday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, Jan. 24: Family members and thousands of well-wishers bid a tearful farewell to JMM stalwart Sudhir Mahto today, two days after the 58-year-old former deputy chief minister succumbed to a massive heart attack.
The funeral was held with state honours amid a 21-gun salute by JAP personnel around 4pm at Parvati Ghat in Bistupur. The jawans fired four rounds in air before Mahto’s nephew Himanshu Mahto lit the funeral pyre.
Chief minister Hemant Soren, JMM patriarch Shibu Soren, Assembly Speaker Shashank Shekhar Bhokta, former chief ministers Arjun Munda and Madhu Koda, Ranchi MP Subodh Kant Sahay, his Jamshedpur counterpart Ajoy Kumar and MLAs Mathura Mahto, Bidyut Varan Mahto, Ramdas Soren and Banna Gupta were present during the cremation.
Tata Steel deputy vice-president Sunil Bhaskaran, senior administrative and police officers from East Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan districts rushed to the spot to express their condolences.
Earlier, the senior JMM leader’s body was brought out of Tata Main Hospital morgue, where Tata Steel managing director T.V. Narendran paid his last respect to the former Icchagarh MLA.
Then, his body, wrapped in Tricolour, was placed inside a casket on a decorated open ambulance, which travelled to Chandil in Seraikela-Kharsawan, via Mango, and Pardih. The ambulance stood at Chandil Chowk for sometime to allow supporters pay their last respects. From Chandil, the ambulance passed though Kandra and reached Uliyan grounds in Kadma around 10.30am.
Mahto’s body was kept at the grounds till 1pm with thousands of supporters, including those from Bengal and Odisha, arriving to have a last look at the popular leader.
Child welfare minister Annapurna Devi and Tata Motors plant head A.B. Lall were also among those who paid their respect to the prominent Kurmi leader at the grounds.
Hemant and his father Shibu Soren arrived in a chopper around 12.30pm and straightaway went to Mahto’s residence at Uliyan to extend their condolences to his widow Sabita. They also met and consoled Mahto’s daughters. “Sometimes, life present certain things that are unbelievable. Sudhirda’s demise is also unbelievable,” the chief minister said.
Later, the funeral procession passed through Uliyan bazaar and Sonari, before winding its way to the crematorium via Bistupur main road.
The crematorium was chock-a-block by the time the cortege reached there. Police had a trying time to streamline traffic on the road leading to the ghat.