Rameswaram, (Tamil Nadu), July 30: Thousands of people bid an an emotional farewell to former President APJ Abdul Kalam who on Thursday was laid to rest with full state honours in his home town here amid chants of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.
According to reports, over one lakh people attended the last rites. After the 21-gun salute, reversal of arms and the Last Post, the armed forces removed the tricolour from the mortal remains of the former president and handed it over to his family as a mark of honour and respect.
Thereafter, the body was taken off the podium and placed reverentially in the grave dug nearby. A namaz-e-janaza was then performed after the grave was closed. After final prayers, rose petals were placed over the grave.
The body of Kalam was buried in the middle of a 1.5 acre piece of land earmarked for the purpose at Peikarumbu here after being brought from his family mosque where special prayers were offered.
The funeral of the “Missile Man” was attended by a galaxy of leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi who placed a wreath, offered his final salute and stood in silence in front of Kalam’s body that was draped in national flag. He also went around the casket with folded hands.
The Prime Minister later went up to Kalam’s eldest brother 99-year-old Mohammed Muthu Meeran Lebbai Maraicker, who was seated nearby, and offered his condolences.
Congres Vice-President Rahul Gandhi also paid his last respects to Kalam, who died of cardiac arrest in Shillong on July 27.
Besides some foreign dignitaries, several leaders including Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, his cabinet colleague M Venkaiah Naidu and state Finance Minister O Panneerselvam were present.
Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad and Chief Ministers of Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh Siddaramaiah Oommen Chandy and Chandrababu Naidu and CPI-M veteran V S Achuthanandan were also among those who paid their homage.
The three services chief also paid their respects to their former Supreme Commander.
Kalam, 83, passed away on Monday in Shillong after suffering a massive cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture to students at the Indian Institute of Management.
(With Agency Inputs)