TURA, March 7 - Garo Hills bid adieu to its most famous son today with the mortal remains of �King of the Garos� Purno Agitok Sangma being accorded full State honours that included a 21-gun salute at Dikki Bandi stadium. The funeral procession was witnessed by thousands that thronged the stadium.
The casket of Purno was brought by Meghalaya police personnel to Dikki Bandi stadium at 11 am for the State funeral ceremony, which was attended by over 15,000 people.
A host of dignitaries including Speaker AT Mondal, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and his Cabinet colleagues, Nagaland Speaker Chotisuh Sazo, former Nagaland CM and Lok Sabha MP Neiphiu Rio, former Union Minister Arvind Netam, opposition leader of Meghalaya Donkupar Roy, former Meghalaya CM DD Lapang, former Manipur CM Radhabinod Koijam took part in the funeral proceedings.
Representative of Meghalaya Governor V Shangumunathan laid a wreath on behalf of the Governor while Vincent Pala, MP from Shillong did the honours on behalf of Assam Governor PB Acharya.
The dignitaries at the State funeral recollected the contributions of Purno to the whole North East and the country in a ceremony that lasted for about three hours.
Speakers at the funeral agreed that the death of Sangma has brought an end to an era of politics in Garo Hills and that in his four decades political career, Purno had connected the people of NE to the rest of India and emerged as the most prominent and acceptable face in India�s politics, making the Garo tribe known.
In his four decade�s political career, politics within Garo Hills has revolved around Purno and his multiple roles in the Centre, including that in Central Ministry as well as the Speaker of Lok Sabha has been well followed and provided most with an identity. Most present generation politicians in Meghalaya had idolised him.
Condolence messages received from across the country including those from President Pranab Mukherjee and All India Congress Committee President, Sonia Gandhi were read out during the programme.
Speaking on behalf of the bereaved family, Late Sangma�s youngest daughter and former Union Minister of State, Agatha K Sangma extended a note of gratitude for the support they received during their moment of loss and also expressed her gratitude to the Almighty �for giving us a father like PA Sangma�.
Later, the mortal remains of the late leader was carried by guard of honour and handed over to the family for funeral service at the Cathedral and later for the burial at the Catholic Church Cemetery.
While the mortal remains were being carried to his final resting place, the seven km road leading from the Stadium to the Cathedral and the cemetery was crowded with people on both sides waiting to have the last glimpse of the departed leader.