Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal expressed grief over the death of Namdhari sect head Satguru Jagjit Singh on Thursday evening.
The chief minister announced a public holiday on Friday as a mark of respect to the spiritual leader.
In his condolence message, he recalled the valuable services rendered by the Satguru in ushering in an era of communal harmony, brotherhood, peace and amity in the country. "Satguru Jagjit Singhji was a spiritual ambassador and an eminent social reformer who played a proactive role in eradicating social evils such as female foeticide, dowry and drug addiction," Badal said.
He said Satguru would be remembered for his humility, compassion and idealism. Describing the Satguru as an institution in himself, Badal also remembered his contribution as a philanthropist in education, health, farming, especially in the cultivation of vegetables, fruits and flowers besides promoting music and sports.
"In the death of Satguru Jagjit Singhji, the nation has lost one of the most revered religious personalities who acted as a beacon to guide the destiny of mankind in a materialistic society by inspiring people to tread on the path of spirituality," Badal said.
All educational institutions, offices, boards and corporations in Chandigarh and in Punjab will remain closed on Friday as a mark of respect to the religious leader.
Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh said Satguru's death was a loss to humanity. He said the Satguru was the guiding force not only for the Namdhari durbar but also for mankind. Party general secretary and Dhuri MLA Arvind Khanna said Satguru's death had created a vacuum in the spiritual and religious leadership.