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Kalam body being taken to Rameswaram

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Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu): The mortal remains of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam were on Wednesday taken by helicopter from Madurai to Mandapam, around 22 km from here, where state ministers and others paid their last respects to the departed soul.

picture from- thehawkindia.com
picture from- thehawkindia.com

Members of the armed forces too paid their respects to Kalam, following which the casket containing the former president’s body was put an army truck to be transported by road to Rameswaram.

At Rameswaram, around 600 km from Chennai, Kalam’s body would be kept at a location near the bus stand for the people to pay their last respects.

A large number of people have been waiting at the location to pay their homage to the the distinguished scientist and teacher popularly known as ‘People’s President’ and ‘Missile Man’.

Speaking to reporters at Mandapam, union minister Venkaiah Naidu said there was no leader like Kalam in recent times who had endeared himself to the people, particularly to the youth.

“People in large numbers have assembled to pay their last respects,” A.P.J.M.K. Sheik Saleem, the former president’s brother’s grandson, said. “All our relatives have also arrived to attend the last rites,” he added.

Kalam was born in Rameswaram on October 15, 1931 and died in Shillong on Monday after suffering a cardiac arrest during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management.

It was in this town that Kalam hawked newspapers to supplement his family income in his younger years. His father owned a boat, and his mother constantly struggled to keep the family sufficiently fed and clothed.

His sister pawned jewellery with a moneylender so that the studious Kalam could have Rs.600 when he decided to leave Rameswaram to join the Madras Institute of Technology.

Saleem said Kalam’s body would be kept near the town’s main bus stand to enable people to pay their last respects.

“Public can pay their homage till 8 p.m. after which the body will be taken to his house on the Mosque Street,” he said.

According to Saleem, the last rites will be performed around 10.30 a.m. on Thursday.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said the government had allotted land for burying Kalam’s mortal remains at the request of his family.

Meanwhile, public emotions were running high that a boy with humble origins from this coastal town who rose to great heights had passed away.

Many locals were unable to believe the passing away of one of India’s most popular presidents, who was born and raised in this Hindu pilgrim centre.

Rameshwaram resident A. Johnson told IANS: “Kalam was Rameswaram’s gift to the world. It is sad that this gift has left us.”

Another resident Inoja said: “There are no words to express my feelings. I am still not able to believe that Kalam is no more. I feel like crying.”

Muthunambu said in a choking voice: “I am unable to accept his death. Kalam had come to our school. He stressed that we all should study hard.”

Security has been tightened at Rameswaram in view of the large number of people, including ministers and others, expected to attend Kalam’s last rites.

Hoteliers said that all the rooms in major hotels had been booked for two days.

(IANS)

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Waves of black as Modi visits Chennai

Tamil Nadu has been in turmoil since the six-week period for setting up the Board expired, with opposition parties and a host of fringe Tamil groups attacking the Centre

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi (FILE PHOTO)

Black flags and balloons and activists in black shirts and trousers greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he paid a whirlwind visit to Chennai with helicopter as the chosen mode of transport in the wake of statewide agitation demanding constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB).

Protests were also held with black flags and placards throughout Tamil Nadu in cities like Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Coimbatore and Tuticorin against the Prime Minister’s brief visit to the state and the Centre’s failure to constitute the CMB despite a Supreme Court order. Black flags were hoisted on homes and business establishments across the state.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Narendra Modi welcomed with black flags in chennai.

In a bid to avoid protesters, Modi, who arrived here by a special aircraft in the morning, chose a helicopter to reach Tiruvidanthai, in neighbouring Kanchipuram district where he opened the 10th DefExpo organised by the Defence Ministry. From there he took another chopper to come to IIT Madras, in the heart of the city. From there, he took a one-kilometre ride by car to the neighbouring Adyar Cancer Institute for an event.

The Prime Minister walked a few steps from the helicopter to the car that ferried him to the Cancer Institute. As he did so, he encountered some 30 students from IIT Madras who stood silently but held posters demanding a Cauvery Management Board as ordered by the Supreme Court — an issue which has whipped up emotions in Tamil Nadu. Modi then left by helicopter to the airport before returning to Delhi.

Also Read: Modi is anti-Dalit, will defeat BJP in 2019: Rahul Gandhi

#Go back Modi trended on top as netizens took to the cyberspace to register their protest against the Central government’s failure to set up the CMB as directed by the Supreme Court to ensure proper sharing of Cauvery waters between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and other states.

DMK leader M.K. Stalin, who was on a padayatra of the Cauvery delta areas, wore black shirt and trousers as he protested along with state Congress President Thirunavukkarasar and CPI-M state unit chief Mutharasan. “The Prime Minister may be flying in the air today but he has to come down when the elections come,” he said taking a dig at Modi.

A black flag was hoisted at DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s residence. The ailing leader wore a black shirt. DMK MP Tiruchi Siva and leaders of DMK allies wore black dress and marched on the road near the Chennai airport.

In the morning outside the Chennai airport, activists of the Federation for protection of Tamil Art and Culture, led by noted film director Bharatiraja and other film personalities like Amir, Gautaman and Vetrimaran protested against Modi’s visit. They were arrested.

will also hold a meeting there with the Indian community. Wikimedia Commons
Cauvery River Dispute is going on for a while now. Wikimedia Commons

While MDMK chief Vaiko held a black flag protest in Velachery, Naam Thamizhar Katch convenor Seeman, a film director, was arrested elsewhere. Vaiko called Modi a “coward” for choosing to fly. Political leaders Velmurugan and P. Nedumaran were arrested from Alandur metro station in Chennai for holding black flag protests.

Tamil Nadu has been in turmoil since the six-week period for setting up the Board expired, with opposition parties and a host of fringe Tamil groups attacking the Centre, saying the BJP was interested only in winning the Assembly elections in Karnataka. Even the hugely-popular IPL cricket matches have been shifted out of Chennai to Pune in view of the disturbances on Tuesday. IANS