Memorial: House of Kalam adopts a wait-and-watch approach

Written by: OneIndia Defence Bureau
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Bengaluru, Dec 27: The family members of former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam decided to adopt a ‘wait-and-watch' approach towards their demand for a memorial at Pei Karumbu in Rameswaram.

In a late-night development yesterday, House of Kalam issued a press release signaling their patient stand towards the issue.

Memorial: House of Kalam adopts a wait-and-watch approach.
The delay in constructing the memorial and its sorry-state of affairs was highlighted by OneIndia, resulting in it becoming a national issue.

Read more: Cows, dogs defecate near Kalam's kabar in Rameswaram; memorial work at snail's pace

The family seems to have softened their stand towards government following a telephone call they received from Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan recently. Radhakrishnan is a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Kanyakumari.

The minister is said to have assured the family of taking the necessary steps to launch the memorial work at the earliest in addition to making a visit to Rameswaram soon.

House of Kalam says officials from the Central Water Works Department (CPDW) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) visited the burial site and promised them to take up the memorial work at the earliest.

"We also met the Ramanad District Collector to discuss the land transfer to Central government and other issues. He has extended support to the family. We thank the Central government, DRDO and Dr Kalam's followers for being with us and extending your support," House of Kalam said in a release.

House of Kalam appoints 3 Spokespersons

For the first time after the demise of Dr Kalam, the family has now named three Spokespersons - A P J M J Sheik Saleem, A P J M J Sheik Dawood and G K Moinudeen - all grand nephews of former President to deal with the media and government. Sheik Saleem was enrolled into BJP recently.

OneIndia has learnt that the family is upset with former aides of Dr Kalam who are giving statements to the media on a regular basis. The family is also unhappy with Dr Kalam's name being misused by some of his former aides. The appointment of Spokespersons is seen as a step to curtail such attempts.

"If too many people are issuing media statements it would create confusion in the minds of people and government. Hence, on behalf of House of Kalam and Dr A P J Abdul Kalam International Foundation (AKIF), the newly-appointed Spokespersons will deal with media from now on," says a family member.

He said the family has not given any consent to anyone to use Dr Kalam's name or launch any movement in his name. The family has taken by surprise to see a recent news item in a daily claiming that Central government has sanctioned money for the memorial.

"Even the Ramnad district collector is not aware of it. The government has promised us that they would communicate to us directly over the memorial work," says a family member.

Online campaigns gaining momentum

In a related development, the online petition filed by A P J M Maraikayar, 99-year-old elder brother of Dr Kalam recently on, has picked up momentum with thousands signing it.

Also read: Dr Kalam's 99-year-old brother Maraikayar launches campaign for memorial

The #Justice4GuruKalam online campaign, launched by Dr Kalam's well-wishers, too has garnered support. The campaign managers are now signing up volunteers from different cities.

"Our silent mission will continue till the memorial work is completed. Dr Kalam died on July 27 and it is exactly five months today. We are annoyed that only promises are coming and not any action on ground. Our campaign will be a silent one," says a statement on the campaign page.

All eyes are now on the family who has decided to toe the government line, for the moment.

It will be interesting to see how the government and the family manage to convince Dr Kalam's followers, who are upset over the shoddy treatment meted out to his proposed memorial. A majority are angry with the government's apathy which has resulting in a Bharat Ratna still resting under a tin shed.

"We understand the DRDO and CPWD officials have cleaned up the area now. Thanks to the media, there's some action now. But, our silent campaign would continue till a befitting memorial is up," says Debasis D, a Civil Services aspirant from Puri.

Dr M H Jawahirullah, Ramanathapuram MLA of Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) told OneIndia on Sunday that the government has forgotten the responsibility of constructing a memorial.

"It has become a national issue due to the media pressure. Now I am told that some action is being promised. Hope it is not a knee-jerk reaction due to the media campaign. My fight will continue," says Jawahirullah.

OneIndia News

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