PM Modi Leads Thousands in Paying Homage to People's President APJ Abdul Kalam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi salutes former President APJ Abdul Kalam


Thousands gathered to bid farewell to the People's President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam who was buried with full state honours at a public ground in Tamil Nadu's Rameswaram town where he was born. (Pics)

At the Pei Karumbu ground, Prime Minister Narendra Modi saluted Dr Kalam's body which was wrapped in the Indian Tricolour, before the last rites. The PM then walked around Dr Kalam's body hands folded.

Many chief ministers, union ministers and other political leaders like Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi attended the last rites.

Thousands of people came from all over the country to pay their last respects to the much loved President. People came in buses, trains and boats. Some even walked down the highway into Rameswaram. Many slept on the roads the previous night.

This morning the streets of the town were packed as Dr Kalam's body was taken from his ancestral home to a mosque in a casket covered with a traditional green shawl, carried by personnel of the three services. Dr Kalam's family, including his eldest brother 99-year-old Mohammed Muthu Meera Lebbai Maraicker accompanied his body.

Many of his friends and former colleagues were also there. Former ISRO chairperson, Dr Madhavan Nair told NDTV, "I think it is very unfortunate that I am visiting Rameswaram for the first time to attend the last rites of my Guruji. He was my friend, philosopher and guide. The day we deposited the flag on the moon, he flew down to Bangalore... anytime I have a problem, there was a man whom I could bank on but now I don't know where to look."

There were slogans of "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and people waved the national tricolour as Dr Kalam's body was then taken in a carriage covered with flowers to the burial site. Many stationed themselves on the terraces of buildings that line the roads to get a last glimpse of their hero.

Dr Kalam died on Monday in Shillong after a massive cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management. He was 83.

Known as the Missile Man of India, Dr Kalam played a pivotal role in the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan and India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.