Rameswaram prepares to pay final tribute to Kalam

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Chennai: After a large number of people from different walks of life paid their last respects to APJ Abdul Kalam, funeral of the former president will be held in his hometown of Rameswaram on Thursday. The body of Kalam,  reached this Hindu pilgrim town, around 600 km from Chennai, in the evening. The casket containing Kalam's body was carried in an army vehicle from Mandapam, around 22 km from the place, and a large number of people lined up on both sides of the road to have a final glimpse of their beloved former president.

The mortal remains of Kalam were brought to Mandapam from Madurai in a helicopter after being flown there from Delhi in a special Indian Air Force aircraft. Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar accompanied the casket. At Madurai, the body was received by Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah.Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and several other leaders would also attend Kalam's last rites on Thursday.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, however, announced her inability to travel to Rameswaram owing to her health condition. She also announced that the government had allotted land for burying Kalam's mortal remains at the request of his family.