Chennai, Dec 24: A P J M Maraikayar, 99-year-old elder brother of former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam on Thursday launched an online signature campaign to drum up public support for the speedy construction of a memorial at Pei Karumbu in Rameswaram.
Sheikh Saleem, grand nephew of Dr Kalam told OneIndia that the family decided to launch a campaign as per the wishes of Maraikayar.
"Yesterday night Thatha (grandfather) dictated the message to us. He is a very disturbed man now seeing the plight of the kabar (burial place) at Pei Karumbu. Based on what he told us, we launched the campaign after discussing with family members," says Saleem.
CPWD officials visit burial site
Saleem said the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) officials visited Pei Karumbu today for undertaking survey.
"The CPWD officials told me that they have sought more land from Tamil Nadu government, in addition to the current I.5 acres. Today, Pon Radhakrishnan (Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping) spoke to me and assured all help. He also promised to visit House of Kalam during first week of January," says Saleem.
OneIndia had reported about the sad state of affairs at the burial site, which triggered a nation-wide debate.
Where have all the people in power gone: Maraikayar
In his short petition posted on Change.org (https://www.change.org/p/build-a-memorial-at-kalam-s-burial-site-mvenkaiahnaidu), Maraikayar expresses his anguish over the kabar's condition.
"It has been 5 months since my brother Dr A P J Abdul Kalam passed away. Today his burial site is strewn with animal droppings all over. There were promises made of a memorial at the burial site. But the work for this memorial has not even started," he says.
Questioning the absence of people in power, Maraikayar recalled how the whole nation came together to mourn Dr Kalam's demise and to honour him.
"Today his grave still lies under a makeshift shelter. Where are all the people in power? Dr Kalam spent his whole life serving the country. The Central Government must deliver the promise and build my brother the memorial he deserves," says Maraikayar.
Too many voices creating confusion: Family
The petition is addressed to Union Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu.
"I am 99 years old and cannot run after them to make this happen. I need your support. This is the wish of every Indian," he concludes.
Interestingly, there are a number of online petitions launched by Dr Kalam's followers on Change.org.
The family says too many people talking on behalf of Dr Kalam has created confusion among people's mind.
"We are planning to address the issue of many voices being aired. We do not want anyone taking up any cause related to Dr Kalam, without our consent. It will send out wrong signals," says Saleem.
Meanwhile, the #Justice4GuruKalam campaign launched by the editorial team of Billion Beats, Dr Kalam's e-paper capturing inspiring stories of Indians, has gone viral on social media sites.