Assam CM pays last respects to Kalam

Guwahati, July 28 (IANS) Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday paid his last respects to former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who passed away in Shillong on Monday, at the Air Force Station at Borjhar on the outskirts of Guwahati.

Gogoi laid a wreath on the wooden box draped in the Indian tricolour containing the body of the former president who died at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Shillong on Monday evening.

As soon as the mortal remains were lowered from an Indian Air Force (IAF) chopper at around 6.10 a.m., the IAF personnel gave a guard of honour as the cortege passed with the national anthem reverberating the air. The body was later airlifted in an Indian Air Force plane to New Delhi.

Besides Gogoi, Meghalaya Governor V. Shanmuganathan and former Assam chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta were among a host of dignitaries present at the sombre event.

Talking to mediapersons, Gogoi, while deeply condoling the passing away of Kalam on behalf of the people of Assam, said: “India has lost a renowned scientist, a super human being and a people’s president.

“A man of simple living and high thinking, Dr. Kalam was a teacher extraordinary who ignited the young minds and wanted to build a vibrant and resilient India through them. His death is an irreparable loss to the whole world and India in particular,” he added.

Recalling his fond memories of the former president, Gogoi said, “I have had the opportunity to meet him on several occasions and was inspired by his vast repertoire of knowledge.

“During his visits to Assam, particularly the rural areas, Dr. Kalam was enamoured by the warm hospitality of the people and was stirred by the rich heritage and culture of the state,” he added.

Kalam was delivering a speech on “Liveable Planet” on Monday evening when he collapsed following cardiac arrest. The 83-year-old was declared dead at the hospital.

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