Home / Politics / Policy /  APJ Abdul Kalam: The seven day mourning period, explained

The government of India has announced a seven-day mourning to mark former president APJ Abdul Kalam’s death on Monday.

The official communication said, “The government of India announces with profound sorrow the death of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India at Bethany Hospital, Shillong at 1945 hours, today. As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, seven days state mourning will be observed throughout India from 27 July 2015 to 2 August 2015, both days inclusive."

A state funeral will also be held, but details have not yet been revealed.

When does the government announce a seven-day mourning period?

As per official protocol, a seven-day mourning period is only announced after a sitting president’s death. The same protocol is accorded to a former prime minister, as observed in the recent case of I.K. Gujral.

The government’s decision to announce a seven-day mourning period for Kalam is a departure from protocol.

What happens during the state mourning period?

According to the Flag Code of India, “In the event of the death of the following dignitaries, the National Flag will be halfmasted." In the case of Kalam, with state mourning officially announced, “the national flag will fly at half-mast on all buildings throughout India where it is flown regularly". The halfmasting of the Indian flag, as per protocol, will also happen in overseas missions and posts.

The official announcement also said that there will be no “official entertainment". This includes official dinners or functions, and other activities.

When is the state funeral?

The date, time and venue of the state funeral has not yet been announced.

Will schools and government offices be shut?

No. Following its announcement of national mourning, the government also said schools and colleges will remain open.

But many private schools in Bengaluru have declared a public holiday. In Chennai, the Anna University has suspended classes on Tuesday.

Even during the state funeral, there will be no public holiday, in accordance with a 1997 central government notification, which restricted the announcement of a public holiday during state mourning, except during the death of a sitting prime minister or president.

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