The mortal remains of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who died on Monday, July 27, were taken from his ancestral house in Rameswaram to the local mosque ahead of the funeral as thousands of mourners, young and old, poured into the island town to pay their last respects. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and a host of other dignitaries, including chief ministers of some states, took part in the last rites held around 11 am after Namaz-e-Janaza .

The body of 83-year-old Kalam, who passed away in Shillong on Monday, July 27, was taken from the house around 9.30 am to the mosque by the personnel of three services with the casket covered with traditional green shawl. At the mosque, the Aalin or the chief priest read out special prayer and spoke about the former president, who grew up from this island. Later, the body was taken to the place of burial where prayers were offered again.

The body of the ‘Missile Man’ was brought to his house on the narrow Pallivasal Street around 10 pm last night after lying in state and left in the privacy of his family till Monday morning. Thousands of mourners kept pouring through the night by various means of transport including buses, trains and boats to attend the last rites and many of them even slept on the roads last night. Shops, business establishments and hotels remained shut in the town and throughout Tamil Nadu as a mark of respect to the late leader fondly called the ‘People’s President’.

Police said tight security arrangements have been made in and around the town and Navy, Coast Guard and marine police personnel deployed in the sea. Tamil Nadu Government has declared a public holiday on Thursday, July 30, as a mark of respect to Kalam.