Thousands pour in for sect leader’s cremation in PunjabJune 4th, 2009 - 3:41 pm ICT by IANS
Jalandhar, June 4 (IANS) Thousands of followers of slain Dera Sachh Khand sect leader, Sant Rama Nand Dass, trooped into Ballan village, 15 km from here, as his body was brought from Vienna amid extremely tight security.
The body was accompanied by the sect head, Sant Niranjan Dass, who was also injured in the attack on them in a gurdwara in Vienna May 24.
Thousands of Ravidassias, who are followers of 14th century preacher Sant Ravi Dass, started arriving at the sect headquarters at Ballan village since Wednesday, to pay their last respects to the sect leader.
Contingents of the paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) and Punjab Police were stationed in large numbers in and around the sect headquarters. The sect had appealed to its followers to maintain peace.
Areas of central Punjab, especially Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Phagwara, Ludhiana and a few other places had witnessed large-scale violence last week following the Vienna attack on the sect leaders.
Three people died and dozens were injured in the violence that also saw coaches of three trains being set on fire and many cars, trucks and buses being burnt by the protesters.
Public and private property suffered extensive damage during the violence as the civil authorities called in the army and paramilitary forces to control the situation. Train and road traffic was severely affected as the protesters blocked highways, roads and rail tracks.
Draped in saffron, the body of Sant Rama Nand Dass, 57, was kept in a glass coffin in an open area of the sect campus for followers to pay their respects.
The Punjab government had sent a chartered aircraft to Vienna from New Delhi Tuesday to bring back the sect head Niranjan Dass and the body of Sant Rama Nand Dass. Punjab chief minister’s principal secretary D.S. Guru went by the special flight to Vienna to bring them back.
The sect head and the body were flown by a special helicopter from New Delhi to the sect headquarters here Thursday morning.
The cremation is likely to be attended by leaders from all political parties. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and other central leaders are likely to attend the cremation later Thursday.
Most followers of the Dera Sachh Khand sect are Dalit Sikhs. There has been an undercurrent of resentment by the sect followers against the dominant Jat Sikh community in the past few decades, mainly owing to social disparity between the two.
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- Punjab to send plane to get sect leader's body from Austria (To go with: Murdered sect leader's remains to be brought to India) - Jun 01, 2009
- In Vienna, followers pay last respects to Rama Nand - Jun 02, 2009
- Akal Takht asks SGPC to send team to probe Vienna shooting - Aug 12, 2009
- Dera Sachh Khand sect was established 70 years ago - May 26, 2009
- Dal Khalsa urges apex Sikh body to probe Vienna shoot-out - Aug 11, 2009
- Dalits in Canada call Vienna killing 'act of terrorism' - May 26, 2009
- Social neglect leading to growing influence of sects: Experts - May 29, 2009
- Guru Sant Rama Nand to be cremated today - Jun 04, 2009
- Ashes of Sant Rama Nand Dass taken to Haridwar for immersion - Jun 07, 2009
- Curfew in Hoshiarpur - May 25, 2009
- Punjab assembly by-poll postponed to June 12 - May 26, 2009
- Punjab limps back to normalcy, but tension persists (Second Lead) - May 26, 2009
- 1,000 commemorate Indian sect leader slain in Vienna (Lead, correcting names in Para 1,2) - May 30, 2010
- Tension, curfew continue in parts of Punjab - May 26, 2009
Tags: ballan, border security force, bsf, chartered aircraft, civil authorities, glass coffin, gurdwara, jalandhar, last respects, ludhiana, many cars, nand, paramilitary forces, principal secretary, punjab chief minister, punjab government, punjab police, road traffic, sect leader, tight security