The day after Amma died an account of the events of december 6 by sukanya datta

After fighting for her life for 74 days, Jayalalitha Jayaram, the “iron lady” of Tamil Nadu passed away around 11:30 pm on December 5, 2016, leaving the city in a state of intense grief.

Prayer groups praying in unison for Amma.

Apollo Hospital, where she was being treated, in its statement said “with indescribable grief, we announce the sad demise of our esteemed honourable chief minister of Tamil Nadu Puratchi Thalaivi Amma”. After showing considerable signs of improvement since her critical condition when she had been hospitalised for the first time, Amma suffered a major cardiac arrest on December 4 to which she consequently succumbed.

From left : A picture of Jayalalitha, women outside Apollo (Photo source : New Indian Express), road to Amma's residence in Poes Garden barricaded.

The night of December 5 was one of prayers and hope in the face of uncertainty and anxiety. Hundreds of people thronged Apollo Hospital to find out for themselves, the condition of their beloved chief minister. Men, women, children shed tears of deep apprehension while praying together for Amma. “She has touched our lives in ways that no one else could have. She is the reason that our lives are what they are. We cannot imagine Tamil Nadu without her”, said Meena R, a 64 year-old house help who had joined a prayer group in Poes Garden, outside the chief minister’s residence.

The morning after the announcement of her demise, grief and despair gripped the city and the state. People from all walks of life started pouring in at Rajaji Hall where the honourable chief minister’s body had been kept for people to pay their last tributes.

There were hardly buses or autos on the road but the trains were full and sure enough, most of the crowd got off at Chepauk and marched towards the hall.
People marching towards Rajaji Hall.

The Tamil Nadu police manned every station gate, barricaded all major signals leading to Rajaji Hall and tried their best to control the ever swelling crowd. Bearing the brunt of the histrionics of the people who tried to immolate themselves, or break the barriers , the police and the Rapid Action Force stood firmly to ensure smooth progression of events that day.

Outside Marina Beach.
Police manning the crowd outside Marina Beach.

Groups like the Bora Muslim Community came to the help of the police by providing them with free water and some food. They also distributed the same to whoever wanted it among the people as well.

"We are from the Bora Muslim Community here in Chennai. We are here not only to help the people who have gathered but mainly for the police who have been working tirelessly. We will continue to do this work." - Aman, a member of the community.

Bora community members distributing water and food to the police and RAF.

The likes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee, Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav flew down to pay their last tributes. People from all over the world tweeted out their condolences :

The road from Chepauk stadium to Marina Beach was lined with AIADMK flags and flowers that so quintessentially define the spirit of Tamil Nadu. Amma was buried next to her idol MG Ramachandran who introduced her to the world of politics back in the day. There was top security near the burial ground and no media except Doordarshan and Jaya TV was allowed inside although, the happenings were telecasted on two huge screens outside for the people to watch.

When the tributes had been paid at Rajaji Hall and her magnificent convoy led by Sasikala passed the Beach Road, a deafening wail of “AMMA” echoed all along Marina and along the whole of Tamil Nadu. People broke all barriers crying out her name aloud to see her just once more.

Her last rites were carried out by Sasikala and some of her closest allies and finally, the army gave her a 21 gun salute which was reverberated by cheers by the masses outside who had successfully occupied every inch of the road, the nearby buildings and even statues.

The state observed 7 days of mourning from December 5. Schools, offices, colleges remained shut for 7 days while shops remained completely shut for at least 2 days.

Beach Road, after Amma's convoy had passed through it.

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