Funeral of late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee to be held tomorrow at 4 pm at Smriti Sthal

The last rites of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will take place at 4 pm tomorrow at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal here, BJP chief Amit Shah said today. The body of the BJP veteran has been kept at his official residence – 6 A Krishna Menon Marg. Shah said people can pay homage to the departed leader at his residence from 7.30 am to 8.30 am tomorrow. The body would then be taken to the BJP headquarters at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg at around 9 am, he told reporters outside the late leader’s residence. The funeral procession would leave the BJP headquarters at 1 pm and the last rites would be performed at 4 pm, he said.

Vajpayee passed away at the AIIMS here this evening at the age of 93 due to prolonged illness. A State funeral would be accorded to Vajpayee and a half day holiday would be observed in all central government offices tomorrow. A seven-day state mourning has been announced by the government as a mark of respect to Vajpayee.

In a circular, the Home Ministry said the national flag would be flown at half mast from today for seven days across the country. “As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, it has been decided that seven days of state mourning will be observed throughout India from August 16-22, both days inclusive.

“During this period, the national flag will be flown at half mast throughout India where it is regularly flown and there will be no official entertainment during the period of the state mourning,” the Home Ministry said. The national flag would also fly half mast on the day of the funeral in all Indian missions abroad. The Smriti Sthal is a common memorial site that was proposed following concerns over shrinking land resources in the capital.

The last rites would be performed on an elevated platform which is surrounded by greenery. Smriti Sthal is located between Jawaharlal Nehru’s memorial ‘Shanti Van’ and Lal Bahadur Shastri’s ‘Vijay Ghat’.  Former prime minister I K Gujral was also cremated at the Smriti Sthal on the banks of river Yamuna in December 2012.

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