Express News Service
Bangalore: Former President A P J Abdul Kalam's office had to get on to a fire fighting mode on Monday morning after rumour mills successfully spread yet another story on the octogenarian scientist's health. An SMS, suspected to have generated from Mumbai, went viral and picked up promptly by the social media, saying that 'Kalam's health has deteriorated and he has been hospitalised.' R K Prasad, Kalam’s private secretary had a tough time answering calls at former President's Rajaji Marg residence in Delhi.
“We have received many calls and someone is playing prank. Dr Kalam is back from London on Saturday (May 17) and he got on to business as usual the very next day. Some SMS messages were doing the rounds saying that he is unwell. We received several calls in the morning. He is fine and healthy,” Prasad told Express over the phone from Delhi. He suspected that the origin of the message could be Mumbai, considering the numbers of 'queries' coming from the business capital.
He said Kalam was addressing a students' meet on Monday morning, when the news spread. “He was engaged in an intense discussion with a group of students at the conference hall. We had to face similar situation in the past as well,” says Prasad, Kalam's longest-serving aide. Since demitting office as the President in July 2007, Kalam has been actively teaching and touring all across the globe. "He still gets hundreds of emails and letters and he is punctual in responding to all relevant ones," adds Prasad.
In March 2011, Kalam was 'laid to rest' by some section of online media, following the death of Dr Hafiz Saleh Muhammad Alladin, a popular astronomer and educational advisor to the Missile Man. Many mistook it as Kalam with condolence messages pouring in on Twitter and Facebook. However, in November 2013, Kalam was admitted to the Army Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi following high fever and flu, forcing him to cancel all his engagements for many weeks.
Worried over the frequent rumour-tipped missiles being fired at Kalam, his office now plans to take up the matter with the Home Ministry again. "We have written in the past as well wanting to identify the source of these messages. Even the intelligence officials were informed about such incidents, but to our surprise no action has been taken yet. It is a matter of concern and we will take up this issue again," an aide close to Kalam, who wish not to be identified said.
Pats Modi: Kalam congratulated the PM-elect Narendra Modi for his victory in the recent general elections. In a brief letter, the former President wished the new PM all success in taking India forward. Kalam was in London on the day when the results were declared.
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