Dr Kalam’s aide Srijan Pal Singh has shared in a Facebook post how the 83-year-old voiced concern about the policeman just ahead of them in an open gypsy that was part of the convoy heading for the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong.
“One hour into the road journey, Dr Kalam said ‘Why is he standing? He will get tired. This is like punishment. Can you ask a wireless message to given that he may sit?’ I had to convince him, he has been probably instructed to keep standing for better security,” Mr Singh writes.
The former president, for the rest of the journey that lasted an hour and a half, kept asking whether the policeman could be signaled to sit down.
On reaching the IIM building, where Dr Kalam was to deliver a lecture, his aide found the guard and took him to meet the former president.
“Dr. Kalam greeted him. He shook his hand, said thank you buddy. Are you tired? Would you like something to eat? I am sorry you had to stand so long because of me,” Mr Singh posted.
Moments later, while delivering the lecture, Dr Kalam collapsed and died after a massive cardiac arrest.
His gesture was mentioned by a senior police officer who said that the former President congratulated a Special Operation Team or SOT personnel “for being alert throughout the road trip from Guwahati to Shillong last evening.”
The officer, M Kharkrang, said the policeman first “got scared” when Dr Kalam summoned him.
Dr Kalam began delivering a lecture on ‘Creating a liveable planet’ when he collapsed and was rushed to the city’s Bethany hospital. His funeral will be held in Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, where he was born.