CHENNAI: Thousands of suburban train commuters at Chennai Central station were pleasantly surprised to see a wonderful set-up in the centre of the hall dedicated to former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
Soon after Dr Kalam’s demise on Monday night, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) at Chennai Central placed his framed photograph in the central hall at the suburban train terminal for passengers to offer homage to the former President. The photograph was adorned with a flower garland. White and yellow jasmine flowers were placed beside lit candles, in memory of Kalam.
On Tuesday morning, a number of commuters at Chennai Central (suburban) paid their respects to Kalam. RPF had even placed a bag of flowers for commuters to offer to as homage.
“I was shocked after hearing the news of his death, but due to work, I haven’t had a moment to spend thinking about him. Thankfully, the RPF has made this fantastic set-up at the station and I could pay homage through this,” said L Satish, a 35-year-old, who is a daily commuter from Chennai Central.
The RPF has taken special care in setting up the small memorial. For example, the photograph used is special for more than one reason. Firstly, it was taken in 2006 when Kalam, as the supreme commander of the forces, was at the RPF Raising Day parade in New Delhi, reminisces an RPF official. The hat worn by Kalam in the photograph was presented to him by RPF as a mark of respect. In true patriotic spirit, a six-point oath for officers to serve the country was mentioned underneath the photograph of Kalam.
“At that function, Kalam had instructed the RPF to give importance to senior citizens and women when it came to security. He also told us to use modern gadgets to ensure better security at railway stations. Following his instructions, the RPF began the use of modern gadgets like night-vision binoculars,” reminisced a senior RPF official. “He was much-admired and liked across the RPF, even after he completed his term,” the official added.