RAMESWARAM: Respecting the sentiments of family members, Centre agreed to conduct last rites of former President APJ Abdul Kalam at his home town Rameswaram on Thursday.
His body will reach the town on Wednesday afternoon and it will be kept for public view to pay homage till 8 pm, said K Nanthakumar, the collector Ramanathapuram. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay homage to Kalam on Thursday at Rameswaram.
After the news of the Kalam's death reached the town, his family members and people wanted his body to be brought back to Rameswaram. Thousands of people who have been visited the house to express their condolence to Kalam's elder brother A P J M Maraikayar also were of the same opinion.
The district collector Nanthakumar and N Mayilvahanan met Maraikayar and Sheik Saleem, the grand nephew of Kalam at their house and told them that his body would be brought around 1 pm to Rameswaram.
"Former President Abdul Kalam's body will reach the town at 1 pm. The place for his burial is yet to identified," said Nanthakumar.
Speaking to Express, grand nephew Sheik said, "His body will be brought to Mandapam by helicopter from Madurai. From there, it will be brought by road to the ground near the bus stand where public can pay their respects. Then, by 8 p.m., the body will be handed over to the family members for performing last rites" he said.
Modi and six Chief Ministers including Chandrababu Naidu from Andhra Pradesh; Shivraj Singh Chouhan from Madhya Pradesh; Laxmikant Parsekar from Goa; Devendra Fadnavis from Maharashtra, and other senior BJP leaders will also be present to pay homage," said K Muralidharan, BJP National Council Member from Rameswaram. He paid homage to Kalam's body at New Delhi on Tuesday.
Sheik said that eminent personalities, educationalist and youths wanted to symbolise the final rites on Thursday as a memorial day. "Hence we have decided to take out his body in a procession before conducting the final rites as per the Islamic tradition," he said.
Rameswaram town is reeling under sorrow since the news of Kalam's death reached on Tuesday night. Big hoarding with Kalam's picture has been installed in various places in the town.
Pakistan PM Condoles Kalam's Demise
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed his condolences following the death of former Indian president Abdul Kalam, a media report said on Tuesday.
The prime minister prayed for eternal peace for the departed soul, Radio Pakistan reported. On Monday, the Pakistan foreign office had said "Kalam will be remembered for his meritorious services for his country".