Sudeeksha, the youngest of the three daughters of Baba Hardev Singh, the Nirankari sect head who died in a car crash near Montreal in Canada, was tipped to succeed him before the announcement of the name of her mother, Savinder Kaur was made on Tuesday evening.
The announcement of the next Nirankari chief was expected soon after the last rites of Baba Hardev Singh were performed at Delhi’s Nigam Bodh Ghat on Wednesday, but came a day before that.
Savinder became the first woman to head the sect that was founded in 1929 and has 10 million followers. She is be the fifth head of the sect.
The body of Baba Hardev Singh is lying in state at the Samagam Ground No 8 near Sant Nirankari Colony in north Delhi after being brought from Canada.
Sources said a 21-member committee that advises the Nirankari head on administrative matters had been discussing the succession plan and was awaiting a final decision from Savinder . A member of the committee said the discussions were being kept a secret since the focus was on the last rites. She has three daughters, Sudeeksha, who studied in Mater Dei School, Delhi, Samta and Renuka.
Baba Hardev Singh had gone to Canada on that ill-fated trip to work out the logistics for an international congregation planned between June 29 and July 6 in Toronto. Sudeeksha’s husband Avneet Setya also died in the accident.
A video clip showing a ‘composed’ Sudeeksha receiving the bodies of his father and husband has gone viral. “She is spiritually very strong, but we don’t know if she is going to lead the sect,” said a follower.
However, in a communiqué from the sect headquarters in Delhi, the media in charge said that anything related to the future may take some time and will be wrong to speculate. Kirpa Sagar, member in-charge of press and publicity said that speculation was on about the successor of Baba hardev Singh, and Nirankaris are under stress due to his sudden death.