Abdul Kalam's body arrives in his hometown Rameswaram
Rameswaram (TN): The mortal remains of former President A P J Abdul Kalam were on Wednesday brought to his hometown in Rameswaram as a large number of people converged to get a last glimpse of the departed leader.
The helicopter carrying Kalam's body touched down at the specially laid helipad at nearby Mandapam, some 10 kms from here, around 4 pm.
Services personnel pay homage as the mortal remains of former President APJ Abdul Kalam is carried for its departure to Rameshwaram for final rites, at AFS Palam in New Delhi on Wednesday. Pic/PTI
Earlier, the body of the former president, who passed away on Monday, was brought to Madurai from New Delhi by a special aircraft. Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar accompanied the body and were joined by their ministerial colleague Pon Radhakrishnan here.
Draped in the tri-colour, Kalam's body was taken by road in an army vehicle with people lining up on both sides of the 10-km stretch to take a glimpse and pay respects. Some of Kalam's family members were also present at the helipad.
Tamil Nadu ministers, deputed by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, and DMK leader M K Stalin were among those present when the body arrived here.
A commotion was witnessed when several people ran towards the helipad soon after the chopper landed, but was swiftly brought under control by security personnel.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters, Naidu said the body would be kept for the public to pay their last respects till 8 PM. After this, it would be handed over to Kalam's family who would take it to their ancestral house at Pallivasal Street, where the 'missile man' grew up, for conducting some ceremonies. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take part in the last rites to be performed tomorrow.
The body would also be taken to a local mosque, a state official said. Around 2,000 police and security personnel have been deployed in the town for managing the situation.