The Gangster's Funeral

Crowds, police throng Veeramani's cremation

CHENNAI: Huge crowds gathered on Dr Besant Road near the Ice House to witness the deceased gangster K Veeramani's funeral on Monday afternoon.

Veeramani's body which was taken along a procession from his house in Ayodhyakuppam along the Dr Besant Road and V R Pillai Street, was cremated at the Krishnampettai cremation ground about 3.15 p.m.

The long procession, with women screaming in despair especially, testified to the clout Veeramani had enjoyed among the Ayodhyakuppam residents.

Ironically, the body of the gangster was taken along the V R Pillai street, where a rival gang of Veeramani operates. Locals said Veeramani would never have ventured into that area when alive.

The striking difference between Ayodhyakuppam and V R Pillai street area also came through as the funeral procession wended its way through to the cremation ground. While almost the entire Ayodhyakuppam was out on the streets mourning the death of Veeramani, there was little sign of grief in the V R Pillai street, where many preferred to close their doors and watch it from the roof tops.

The police personnel numbering about 500, wearing helmets and wielding lathis and shields were seen barricading both sides of the roads along the procession...

Women had arrived in large numbers to have a glimpse of Veeramani's body that was placed in front of his house. A few women who had arrived at Ayodhyakuppam from Velacherry told our website's newspaper that they had only heard about Veeramani and that he represented the fishing community.

"Since we could not see him when he was alive, we thought we could have a glimpse of him at least now," one of the women said.

Youths belonging to Ayodhyakuppam had erected a barricade around Veeramani's body and were busy regulating the milling crowds. A few old posters hailing Veeramani, pasted on the walls in Ayaodhyakuppam area declared him as 'Neelakadalin Naayakan' (Hero of the blue seas).

One of Veeramani's associates said on condition of anonymity that the crowds went to show that he had done a lot of good work for the people. "He was almost our patron saint," he said.

"Veeramani was unique in his way of settling disputes between any two parties, though he took his share while doing so. He would never go back on his words or cheat anyone who approached him for solving a dispute. One could always look up to him for support in times of distress," he added.

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