Tamil Nadu

State shuts down as mark of respect

The mortal remains of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam being taken inprocession in Rameswaram. Photos: L. Balachandar

The mortal remains of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam being taken inprocession in Rameswaram. Photos: L. Balachandar  

People who thronged Rameswaram to pay homage showed exemplary discipline

Shops, educational institutions, government and private establishments across the State remained closed as a mark of respect to former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who was laid to rest in Rameswaram on Thursday. Busy roads and commercial streets wore a deserted look till noon as people were glued to television sets watching the funeral that was telecast live by various channels.

 People from different walks of life paid floral tributes to the portrait of Kalam that were placed at many locations across Chennai and other cities. Youth belonging to voluntary organisations held memorial meetings to pay homage to the departed leader. The social media, particularly Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp, were flooded with live updates from the funeral site and also messages in praise of the former President.

This small island where Kalam was laid to rest was witness to a new culture — people who had come to pay homage to their leader showed an exemplary discipline. Never in the recent past had any congregation of such a magnitude in the southern districts showed so much of discipline in conducting themselves.

It appeared that the police personnel were deployed more for the security of high-profile leaders such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Governors and Chief Ministers of various States than to control the crowd that wanted to have a glimpse of the departed leader. “The bandobust turned out to be more a formality to protect the VIPs under various security scales rather than crowd management,” a police officer said.

Be it the crowd at Mandapam, that patiently waited under the sun to receive the mortal remains of the “Son of the Soil” on Wednesday , or the thousands who silently stood for nearly five hours at Rameswaram later in the day to pay their last respects, the crowd posed little anxiety to the police personnel.

People neither quarrelled with each other nor the police personnel and there was no intention on their part to jump the queue.  At one point of time, the serpentine queue wound through the vacant ground for nearly 1500 metres.

Significantly, no drunk person was seen creating any ruckus on the pretext of giving vent to agony over the departure of his beloved leader. Even the chaos on the road on Wednesday, to a large extent, could be attributed to the huge number of vehicles and the larger congregation in a relatively smaller place.Not only at the venues of mourning but also other parts of the town did the crowd behave well.

Though over an estimated 10,000 people had gathered around the burial ground, they remained calm till the body arrived at 11 a.m. 

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 1, 2020 7:10:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamil-nadu-shuts-down-as-mark-of-respect-to-kalam/article7484779.ece

Next Story