Nation bids farewell to former President APJ Abdul Kalam in Rameswaram

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The mortal remains of former President and Bharat Ratna APJ Abdul Kalam, who died on Monday, were buried with full state honours at a public ground in Tamil Nadu’s Rameswaram town, where he was born, on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi saluted Dr. Kalam’s body which was wrapped in the Indian tricolour, before the last rites at the Pei Karumbu ground. The PM then walked around Dr. Kalam’s mortal remains with hands folded.

A host of other dignitaries including Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and chief ministers of some states attended the last rites that began at 11 am after ‘Namaz-e-Janaza’.

Dr. Kalam’s body was taken from his house around 9:30 am to the mosque by the personnel of three services with the casket covered with traditional green shawl. Dr. Kalam’s family, including his 99-year-old brother, Mohammed Muthu Meera Lebbai Maraicker accompanied his body.

At the venue, thousands of people came from all over the country to pay respects to the People’s President. People had walked down the highway into Rameswaram and came in buses, trains and even boats. Some slept on the roads last night.

Pictures even emerged of people climbing trees near the venue in order to observe the last rites ceremony.

There were slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and people waved the national tricolour as Dr. Kalam’s body was taken in a carriage covered with flowers to the burial site.

Dr. Kalam, who is fondly remembered as the ‘Missile Man of India’ was one of India’s and world’s most respected nuclear scientists. He had passed away aged 83 on Monday evening after collapsing while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong.