BANGALORE: Former President A P J Abdul Kalam’s office had to get on to a fire fighting mode on Monday morning after rumour mills successfully spread yet another story on the octogenarian scientist’s health.
An SMS, suspected to have generated from Mumbai, went viral and picked up promptly by the social media, saying that ‘Kalam’s health has deteriorated and he has been hospitalised.’
R K Prasad, Kalam’s private secretary had a tough time answering calls at the former President’s Rajaji Marg residence in Delhi. “We have received many calls and someone is playing a prank. Dr Kalam is back from London on Saturday and he got on to business as usual the very next day. Some SMS is doing the rounds saying he is unwell. He is fine and healthy,” Prasad told Express over phone from Delhi.
He said Kalam was addressing a students’ meet on Monday morning, when the news spread. “He was engaged in an intense discussion with a group of students at the conference hall. We had to face similar situation in the past as well,” says Prasad, Kalam’s longest-serving aide.
Since demitting office as the President in July 2007, Kalam has been actively teaching and touring all across the globe. In March 2011, Kalam was ‘laid to rest’ by some section of the online media, following the death of Dr Hafiz Saleh Muhammad Alladin, a popular astronomer and educational advisor to the Missile Man. Many mistook it as Kalam with condolence messages pouring in on Twitter and Facebook. However, in November 2013, Kalam was admitted to the Army Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi following high fever and flu, forcing him to cancel all his engagements for many weeks.
Worried over the frequent rumour-tipped missiles being fired at Kalam, his office now plans to take up the matter with the Home Ministry again. “We have written in the past as well wanting to identify the source of these messages. Intelligence officials were informed about such incidents, but to our surprise no action has been taken yet,” an aide close to Kalam.
Kalam congratulated PM-elect Narendra Modi for his victory in the recent general elections. In a brief letter, the former President wished the new Prime Minister all success in taking India forward. Kalam was in London on the day when the results were declared.