(Bangalore) Violence that left at least three persons dead and dozens injured as tens of thousands of grief-stricken fans today bade a tearful adieu to actor Rajkumar Thursday.
Hundreds of vehicles and buildings were burned in the violence, which began after crowds broke through barriers to see the actor's last rites.
Police repeatedly fired teargas shells and resorted to laticharge (organized baton swinging) as crowds in the tens of thousands tried to force their way into the funeral.
A Microsoft research facility in the city was stoned, and many of India's leading technology companies sent workers home early.
Pictures of the late Rajkumar are seen all over the city - displayed at roadside shrines, pasted on vehicles, and carried by mourners.
"With Rajkumar dead, I don't care about my business. It is like everything is dark in the middle of the day," said a milk supplier.
Are there any Western movie stars whose passing might spark such a mob, or are such displays reserved solely for championship sports teams?
This story reminds me more of the chaos and violence after the 1984 Detroit Tiger championship. Even though I lived six miles from the stadium, thoroughfares such as Warren Avenue were filled with people. I watched a couple dozen hooligans try to tip over a DOT bus, with the driver and passengers inside. Roaming bands of thugs ran down the street busting windows and stealing merchandise.