Large crowds pay homage

NEW DELHI:  The body of former President APJ Abdul Kalam will be flown out of Delhi early Wednesday morning to Madurai in Tamil Nadu, from where it will be taken by helicopter to Rameswaram, where the former President was born.

The funeral will be held in Rameswaram at 11 am on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to attend, sources said.

Till 7 on Tuesday evening, crowds of people paid tribute to Dr Kalam at 10 Rajaji Marg, his home in Delhi for the last seven years. Among them were a group of children who carried roses.

Earlier in the day, President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Dr Kalam at his residence. Among others who visited were former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

President Mukherjee and PM Modi had earlier received Dr Kalam's body at Delhi's Palam airport. A guard of honour by the three services was held at the airport. 

The government has declared a seven-day national mourning as a mark of respect for the man known and loved across the country as the "People's President".

The former President died after a massive cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong, Meghalaya, last evening. He was 83.

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