Chennai, December 6 (The New Indian Express): Six-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the unquestioned leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), J Jayalalithaa, passed away at a Chennai hospital at 11.30 pm on Monday following a massive cardiac arrest a day before.
She had been in Apollo Hospital since September 22 and had reportedly been on the road to recovery when the cardiac arrest took place on Sunday. After Apollo Hospital formally announced her death, cadre of her party, the AIADMK headed for Raj Bhavan, the residence of the Governor of Tamil Nadu.
Earlier, with news of her deteriorating health condition spreading like wildfire, a curfew-like situation prevailed in Chennai since Monday morning. The swelling crowds at Apollo hospital on Greams Road were high on emotion.
With deserted streets and shutters downed in almost all the major areas of the city as early as 6.30 pm, the city was on an edge. A couple of hours earlier, people were seen crowding at several provision stores to stock up on essentials, like bread and milk packets, fearing shortages in the coming days. Some shoppers returned empty-handed saying bread and milk at their local grocer’s had run out.
Motorists queued up at petrol bunks across the city to keep their vehicles up and running for the next few days. Roads wore a deserted look, with no buses plying in the city.
Earlier, around 4.30 pm, there were massive traffic jams as people hurried home anticipating violence on the streets.
The Central government has rushed the Rapid Action Force to help the Tamil Nadu police tackle violence if any ,although the Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that there is no law and order break down in the south Indian state.
The US Consulate General in Chennai has asked American citizens not to venture out unnecessarily as even normal demonstrations of grief by the people could end up in violence.