YSR's body leaves Hyderabad's Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium

      The flag-draped and flower-bedecked coffin of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajsekhara Reddy left the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium on Friday afternoon, hours after it was placed there for the general public and leaders to pay their last respects. The funeral convoy is headed to Hyderabad's Begumpet Airport from where the coffin carrying the body of the late chief minister, who died in a helicopter crash on Wednesday, will be flown to his native village in Kadapa District for final rites with full state honours. Earlier, the flower-bedecked gun carriage carrying the coffin was brought to the stadium for a lying in state. Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and senior BJP leader L.K.Advani were among the leaders who paid floral tribute to the departed leader. There was a sea of humanity inside the stadium, and some of them were quite distraught and emotional at seeing the cortege carrying the body of their son of the soil. The body of the late chief minister will be taken to his village in Kadapa District around 2 p.m. The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi paid homage to former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajsekhar Reddy at his official residence this morning. Reddy, who died in a helicopter crash along with four others on Wednesday morning, also received floral tribute from other Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Defence Minister A K Antony and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit at the Chief Minister's Camp office in Hyderabad's Begumpet area. The leaders also wrote condolence messages in a book at the camp office. Thereafter, the funeral cortege moved out of the premises and moved along a designated route towards the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium, where it will lie in state for about three hours to allow the general public and politicians to pay their last respects to the departed leader. The Andhra Pradesh capital was a sea of grieving humanity as people from all walks of life gathered in tens of thousands on major thoroughfares to give a fitting farewell to their son of the soil, YSR. The flower bedecked army truck and funeral convoy, led by his emotionally distressed son Jaganmohan Reddy, wound its way slowly through the streets of the city towards the stadium. Jagan Reddy greeted the emotionally charged masses lining the route with folded hands. Reddy's burial will be held at around 5 p. m. in his native village in Kadapa District. The Andhra Pradesh Government has declared five days of state mourning in honour of YSR and cancelled all the official programs in the state. Reddy's Bell 430 chopper went missing on Wednesday morning at about 9.35 and could only be located almost 24 hours later on Thursday morning following a night long search operation by different units of security personnel including Army's Commandos, Air Force's Sukhoi-30, and 5,000 CRPF personnel. The wreckage was discovered atop a hill about 40 nautical miles from Kurnoool town. Along with YSR, four others-- Dr P Subramanium, the Special Secretary to the Chief Minister; ASC Wesley, Chief Security Officer and two pilots Group Captain SK Bhatia and Captain MS Reddy-died in the crash.

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