Amid state mourning, Gopinath Munde's last journey
The tricolour flew at half mast amid state mourning as the maiden sitting of the 16th Lok Sabha was adjourned in memory of Union Minister for Rural Development Gopinath Munde, who died after a road accident yesterday.
Pro tem Speaker Kamal Nath formally apprised the House of the People of the tragic end of Munde.
Mr Nath said Munde, the representative from Maharashtra's Beed, was a man of the masses who in three decades of public life always sought the welfare of the downtrodden and farmers.
The pro tem Speaker hailed Munde's contribution to the politics of his state.
Mr Nath asked the House of the People to observe a two-minute silence before proceedings broke for the day.
The mortal remains of Munde was consigned to flames at Parli.
His eldest daughter Pankaja lit the pyre in the presence of lakhs of people and leaders.
L K Advani, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, his deputy Ajit Pawar and many other dignitaries were present.
The body was airlifted from the national capital to the BJP's Mumbai office yesterday, where thousands of party workers paid their last respects.
The mortal remains was subsequently brought to Latur this morning by a special aircraft from Mumbai and taken to Parli by a helicopter.
The funeral procession began at 1400 hrs from Munde's residence.
The last rites were performed with a guard of honour amid a blanket of security by police force from the entire region.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said wearing a seat belt could have saved Munde.
The tragedy, he said, should serve as a wake-up call to all vehicle owners.
He confirmed media reports suggesting that Munde could have prevented his own death by simply wearing the seat belt.
Dr Vardhan called for greater awareness on safety while driving.
He stressed the need for a new law on the lines of the European Union to make seat belts.
"At any rate a new law is necessary along the lines of European Union countries to make non-seat belt and helmet use punishable... Let us regard the Gopinath Munde tragedy as the turning point.
"The Minister's tragic and untimely death should be a wake-up call to all vehicle owners."
He said the Health Ministry would soon take the initiative to expose people to safety protocols while driving and is considering launching a multi-media campaign in collaboration with NGOs working on safety.
The Health Minister, before leaving for Munde's funeral, said he had lost his friend to "a misconception. "Most people think that the back-seat belts serve only a decorative purpose. "In fact wearing them is as necessary as wearing front seat belts. "They can save lives in the event of impacts," he said.
Munde died yesterday within seconds of his car being rammed from the side by a motorist.
The damage to the Minister's car was not substantial but the force of the throw-forward within the confined space of the car damaged the atlanto axial joint in his neck and severely injured the spinal cord.
The blood vessels carrying blood supply to the brain stem (which is the seat of respiratory and cardiac centre) got disrupted and this became a cause for immediate cardiac and respiratory arrest.
Besides, the liver was ruptured which caused profuse loss of blood, said the Health Minister.
A security vehicle behind RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's car, meanwhile, was hit by another in Delhi this afternoon.
RSS leader Ram Madhav said Bhagwat's vehicle did not meet with any accident and the RSS chief was fine and safe. 'Bhagwatji's vehicle hs NOT met wth any accident. ' Security vehicle behind him was hit by a car.
'Bhagwatji is perfectly ok n left on his tour,' Mr Madhav tweeted.
'Due to d impact of d crash d security vehicle was pushed forward n slowly pushed Bhagwatji's vehicle.
Nothing happened to Mohanji.'
(Posted on 04-06-2014)