Hundreds of thousands of grieving supporters thronged the streets of Mumbai on Sunday for the funeral of Bal Thackeray, a Hindu extremist leader linked to waves of mob violence against Muslims and migrant workers in India.

Nearly 20,000 policemen were on hand because of the violent history of the group. The mourners, however, remained calm and orderly as the body of Thackeray was cremated at Shivaji park where he had made political debut by addressing his first public rally 46 years ago.

His son and successor, Uddhav Thackeray, lit the funeral pyre amid chants of "Thackeray is immortal" by the supporters, some of whom wept.