In the backdrop of intensified police security outside Matoshree in Mumbai, accompanied by Shiv Sena leaders, Dr Jalil Parkar announced that Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray passed away at 3.33 pm, on Saturday. Dr Parkar was among the team of specialised doctors from Leelavati that was battling for eighty-six years old Thackeray’s life since Tuesday evening. Thackeray’s demise was announced an hour later by Dr Parkar’s brief statement. The Sena chief who had numerous ailments over the years had been bedridden for almost the last one year due to stomach ailments.
Police had expected that news of Thackeray’s demise may cause the party activists to go berserk. However, thousands of Thackeray’s followers who had gathered outside Matoshree did not indulge any untoward activity.
Within an hour of the news breaking, public transport including taxis, autorickshaw and buses came to a halt. However, being a weekend, most office goers managed to reach railway stations on time. Shops and establishments downed their shutters. Police instructed banks to close their ATMs to prevent them from being vandalised. In some places, police asked commercial establishments to down the shutters to avoid attracting attention of mourning Sainiks. Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Pune and Nashik, which has a significant presence of Shiv Sena, witnessed a complete shutdown. Even theatres in Mumbai cancelled their shows.
Leaders across the political spectrum condoled the death of Bal Thackeray including Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and a host of film personalities. Thackeray would be cremated on Sunday.