Former President A P J Kalam’s body arrives in Delhi

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of dignitaries today paid their homage to former President A P J Abdul Kalam, whose mortal remains were brought here from Shillong, where he died last night.

Former President A P J Abdul Kalam died Monday after he collapsed during a lecture in Shillong.
Former President A P J Abdul Kalam died Monday after he collapsed during a lecture in Shillong.

The dignitaries placed wreaths on the body that was wrapped in a tri-colour and placed on a deck on the tarmac at at the Palam technical area after it was brought down from a special IAF aircraft that ferried it from Guwahati.

Earlier the body of Kalam, who collapsed during a lecture and died of cardiac arrest, was taken from Shillong in a Air Force helicopter to Guwahati, where Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi paid his respects.

The President and other dignitaries stood in silence as a guard of honour was given before the former President’s body was taken in a flower-bedecked gun carriage to his residence at 10 Rajaji Marg, where it will lie in state for people to pay homage from 3 PM onwards.

The gun carriage was taken in a procession from the airport to Kalam’s residence, a distance of about 12 km.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, three service chiefs and the Marshal of the Indian Air Force 96-year-old Arjan Singh were among the dignitaries, who paid their last respects to the departed soul.

The last rites of Kalam will take place at his birthplace in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu tomorrow at the request of his family members, sources in the government said after a Cabinet meeting that adopted a resolution condoling the death hailing his services to the nation.

After paying their tributes, the President and the Prime Minister were seen involved in a conversation. Later, Modi also had a word with Vice President.

Meghalaya Governor V Shanmughanathan, who accompanied Kalam’s body from Shillong, was also seen talking to the Prime Minister.