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President Mukherjee, PM Modi pay respects to Kalam at Palam Airport

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the three service chiefs led the nation on Tuesday in paying their respects and homage to former president Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s mortal remains at the Palam Technical Airport here.

The mortal remains of the late president, which arrived in a national flag-draped coffin on an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-130 J Super Hercules Aircraft, was flown to the national capital from Guwahati.

Chief of Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Robin Dhowan, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, Chief Minister Arvind Kerjiwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi were also present at the airport to pay their last respects to the former president.

All laid wreaths at the base of the flag-draped coffin.

Kalam’s last rites will be performed at his hometown Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

The Defence Ministry has said that the public can pay homage to the late president at his 10, Rajaji Marg residence from 4 p.m. onwards.

Parliament has been adjourned for two days after members offered their tribute and observed two-minutes silence as a mark of respect to the late leader’s memory.

Kalam passed away in Shillong last evening.

Kalam collapsed after a massive cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong yesterday.

The government has declared a seven-day national mourning as a mark of respect for Dr. Kalam, who played a stellar role in advancing India’s nuclear programme.

Considered the most popular president, Kalam became the11th head of the state and occupied the post between 2002 and 2007 during the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. (ANI)