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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 April 2006, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Violence over Indian star's death
Rajkumar's body lies in state at Kanteerava stadium in Bangalore
People queued since early morning to pay homage
Five people, one a policeman, have been killed in violence in the southern Indian city of Bangalore following the death of legendary film actor Rajkumar.

Police opened fire on rioting mourners, killing four people. The policeman died after being beaten by a mob.

Tens of thousands of mourners bid an emotional farewell as the body of Rajkumar was buried in a grave at a studio that he owned in the city.

The Kannada film icon died on Wednesday following a heart attack aged 77.

I appeal with folded hands to all of you to maintain peace
Rajkumar's son, Raghvendra

Rajkumar's son, Raghvendra, pleaded with fans to be calm - but with no apparent effect.

"I appeal with folded hands to all of you to maintain peace," he told crowds using a microphone.

Mourning

From early on Thursday morning, thousands of fans, including women and children, carried garlands and incense sticks to a site near the actor's body which lay in state in a public stadium.

Many fans wept and beat their chests shouting "Long live Rajkumar".

Police use batons to control the crowd who have come to see Rajkumar's body
Police used batons to control the crowd of fans

"Our hero is dead. Annavaru [elder brother] was our inspiration," a mourner, Hanumanthaiah, told Reuters news agency.

Several politicians and actors including Tamil superstar Rajinikanth paid homage to Rajkumar at the stadium.

"One thing that stood out in him was his simplicity... He has inspired many actors and producers," Rockline Venkatesh, a producer and Rajkumar's close friend, told AFP.

The country's technology hub in Rajkumar's home state of Karnataka remained shut for the second day and all transport was off the roads, as the authorities made arrangements to hold a state funeral for the actor.

The office of US technology giant Microsoft, which is located near Rajkumar's house, was stoned by angry mourners

All commercial establishments were closed and even cable television operators across the city blocked national entertainment channels to mourn the actor's death.

LK Advani, senior leader of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), cancelled the Karnataka leg of his national campaign tour as a mark of respect for Rajkumar.

Irate fans damaged over 50 buses, torched two police vans and 10 private vehicles on Wednesday following the news of the actor's death, police said.

Ransom money

Rajkumar - whose name was sometimes written Raj Kumar - starred in such films as Bangaradha Manushya (The Golden Man) and Shabdavedi.

Fans of Rajkumar's who have come to pay respects to him at Kanteerava stadium in Bangalore
Thousands of fans have gathered to see the actor

Although he had given up acting in recent years, he remained one of India's best-loved figures with many of his fans calling him 'Annavaru' (elder brother).

In July 2000, he was kidnapped along with three members of his family from his home in Gajanur, Tamil Nadu, by notorious Indian bandit Veerappan.

His kidnapping sparked violent protests in Karnataka with people demanding his immediate release. Rajkumar was freed by Veerappan after spending weeks living in the forests of southern India.

Local reports said a large ransom had been paid for his release, although Rajkumar denied that.

Veerappan, a self-styled champion of the Tamil people, was killed by police in 2004.



SEE ALSO:
Indian actor Rajkumar dies at 77
12 Apr 06 |  Entertainment
Indian bandit 'was paid ransom'
22 Nov 02 |  South Asia
Bandit insists on prisoner releases
17 Oct 00 |  South Asia
Rajkumar 'could be free soon'
29 Sep 00 |  South Asia
Kidnapped star warns against rescue
04 Aug 00 |  South Asia
India's approach to bandit kidnapper
31 Jul 00 |  South Asia


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