People gather in large numbers at Kalam's Rameswaram house



A large number of people have gathered at former president A.P.J.Abdul Kalam's house at Rameswaram to pay their last respects, a relative said on Wednesday.

"People in large numbers have assembled at Kalam's house to pay their last respects," A.P.J.M.K. Sheik Saleem, the former president's brother's grandson told IANS over the phone.

"All our relatives have also come to attend the last rites," he added.

The coastal town of Rameswaram, a Hindu pilgrimage centre, is located around 600 km from Chennai in Ramanathapuram district.

Kalam was born in Rameswaram and spent his young days battling poverty there.

Saleem said Kalam's body will be kept at a location near the bus stand to enable the public to pay their last respects.

"Public can pay their homage till 8 p.m. today (Wednesday) after which the body will be taken to his house - `House of Kalam' at the Mosque Street," Saleem said.

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

In a statement issued here Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa said at the request of the family members, the government has allotted land for burying Kalam's mortal remains.

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