SHILLONG (Web Desk) – Former President A P J Abdul Kalam, a popular head of state between 2002 and 2007, died today after he collapsed during a lecture here.
Kalam, 84, was rushed to Bethany hospital in Nongrim hills after he collapsed during the lecture in the Indian Institute of Management.
Chief Secretary P B O Warjiri told reporters outside the hospital that he had spoken to Union Home Secretary L C Goyal asking for necessary arrangements to be made for carrying Kalam’s body from Guwahati to Delhi tomorrow morning, The Economic Times reported.
He was a renowned scientist and is considered to be the main brain behind India’s space launch vehicle (SLV) and missile programme.
Popularly called the “Missile Man” of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam rose from humble beginnings and earned the reputation of being the “people’s President” who endeared himself to all all sections, especially the young.
A devout Muslim and son of a boatowner, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, who assumed office as the 11th President on 18 July, 2002, was seen as a figurehead who could help heal some of the scars of the communal riots which broke out in Gujarat just a few months before.
Acknowledged as the driving force behind India’s quest for cutting-edge defence technologies, Kalam’s contributions to India’s satellite programmes, guided and ballistic missiles project, nuclear weapons programme and the Light Combat Aircraft(LCA) project made him a name.
Government will declare national mourning for seven days, said Union Home Secretary LC Goyal.