18 Nov 2012

Indian politician Bal Thackeray dies

7:11 am on 18 November 2012

Hindu nationalist politician Bal Thackeray has died of heart failure at his home in the Indian city of Mumbai. He was 86.

Known for his fiery rhetoric, Mr Thackeray was the founder and leader of the right wing Shiv Sena party and was one of the country's most controversial politicians.

He was blamed for inciting tensions between Hindu and Muslim communities during the 1993 Mumbai riots in which about 900 people died, the BBC reports.

The Shiv Sena was founded to keep South Indian migrants out of Maharashtra state and to halt the spread of Islam.

Party workers have gathered outside Mr Thackeray's house and security has been stepped up.

His doctor told the crowd that Mr Thackeray died about 3.30pm (local time) on Saturday. He had been in poor health for some months and his health deteriorated further on Wednesday.

The funeral and cremation will be held on Sunday.