New Delhi:The last rites of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will take place with full military honours in his hometown Rameswaram in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu on Thursday.
The home ministry in an official statement confirmed that Kalam would be accorded a state funeral and the last rites would take place at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
“State funeral of former president Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will be held with full military honours on July 30 (Thursday) at 11 a.m. at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu,” the statement said.
The body of the former president, who died on Monday in Shillong after collapsing while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management, was flown to Delhi on Tuesday morning.
A.P.J.M.K. Sheik Saleem, the former president’s brother’s grandson, told IANS over phone: “A large number of relatives, friends, well wishers and common people have gathered at Kalam’s house at Rameswaram.”
The coastal town of Rameswaram, a Hindu pilgrimage centre, is located around 600 km from Chennai in Ramanathapuram district.
Kalam was born in Rameswaram and spent his young days battling poverty there.
According to a Rameswaram official, the administration is gearing up to make necessary arrangements as thousands would assemble in the town to pay homage.
“It is the wish of not only our family, but the entire people of this island that his body should be brought and buried here,” The New Indian Express quoted Saleem as saying.
According to the daily, Ramanathapuram district officials were inspecting a site near a mosque, adjacent to the Railway station for burying the former President.
His cousin Kasim Mohammed said a memorial should be built for him in Rameswaram.
All the shops in Rameswaram island remained closed as a mark of respect for the great leader. Fishermen also decided not to go to the sea for the next three days to mourn his death.
Condoling the former President’s death, Jamath President Abdul Hameed said Kalam was a mentor to the youths and taught them discipline and integrity.
About 5000 students of the St.Josheph College here, where Kalam pursued his B.Sc (Physics), took out a silent march to pay homage to the former president.
— With inputs from IANS