More than 20,000 followers, besides dignitaries from various fields, attended the cremation of Satguru Jagjit Singh, the Namdhari sect's spiritual head, on Friday.
The last rites were performed at the Satguru's native village and Namdharis' township, Bhaini Sahib, 35 km from here.
The Satguru's grandson, Jai Singh, lit the pyre. His nephew, Thakur Udai Singh, and son-in-law Jagtar Singh also performed the last rites.
Emotions ran high among the followers, especially women, as they bid a tearful adieu to their spiritual head. Some even fainted when the pyre was lit.
People even walked down from the main road, 3 km from the township, and climbed atop trees to get the Satguru's last glimpse.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal led the state political leadership on the occasion. Prominent among others present were Akali ministers Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Sarwan Singh Phillaur; Akali leaders Darshan Singh Shivalik, Ranjit Dhillon and Hira Singh Gabria; BJP leader Satpal Gosain; Congress leaders Lal Singh, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Amrik Singh Dhillon, Tej Pratap Singh, Prem Mittal, Guriqbal Kaur, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and latter's son-in-law Vikram Bajwa; Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) Punjab unit chief Brij Bhushan Bedi; and Radha Soami Dera chief Gurinder Singh Dhillon.
Among the police officers, deputy inspector general (DIG), Ludhiana range, MF Farooqui, Khanna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Jatinder Singh Aulakh, Rupnagar SSP Indermohan Singh, SAS Nagar SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar and Jagraon SSP Ashish Chaudhary were present.
The bhog ceremony will be held at Bhaini Sahib on December 23.
A heavy police force was deployed at Bhaini Sahib, besides traffic cops to manage the rush of vehicles. Senior officials, including Ludhiana police commissioner Ishwar Singh and other IPS officers monitored the security arrangements. The administration provided bus service for followers from the main road to the venue.
Kabaddi final as per schedule: Badal
When asked about postponement or cancellation of the Kabaddi World Cup final in view of Satguru Jagjit Singh's death, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said, "It is an international event. It has to be held as per schedule."
Upset at the CM's statement, senior Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who was sitting next to Badal, said, "It's not a good gesture on the part of the state government as the Satguru was a world-renowned personality who worked for noble causes. The Kabaddi World Cup celebrations should be cancelled."
Satguru Jagjit Singh started schools in the name of the Namdhari Educational Society in Himachal Pradesh, Sirsa (Haryana) and other parts of India.
The society runs an international modern school in Thailand and has music schools in the US and UK.
Large chunks of the Satguru's agricultural land are being used for organic farming in Bhaini Sahib as well as Bangalore.