BANGALORE, India – Distraught fans smashed cars, burned buses and battled with police in the southern Indian city of Bangalore on Thursday after they were prevented from seeing the body of an Indian film icon who died this week.
Angry fans knocked down police barricades and pelted police with rocks as they tried to storm a stadium where 77-year-old Raj Kumar's body was on view for people to pay their respects. Local media reports said dozens of people were injured. No official toll was immediately available.
Police said they were outnumbered by the angry mourners, and reinforcements had been called in. Officials said the situation would be brought under control.
"We have done whatever best control we could take. Personally I am supervising whatever is going on,"H.D. Kumaraswamy, the Karnataka chief minister, told CNN-IBN television. "By evening everything is going to stop."
Despite the violence, a procession began moving Kumar's body under heavy police protection toward the area where he was to be cremated. Top film stars, political leaders and tens of thousands of his fans walked behind the body.
The state government has declared two days of official mourning for the star, one of the most beloved figured in southern India.
Kumar appeared in more than 200 Kannada-language films over five decades, becoming one of the most famous faces in southern India, and a man with millions of fiercely devoted fans. While he largely gave up acting in the mid-1990s, he remained one of the region's most-loved celebrities.