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Punjab

Verka villagers don’t allow use of crematorium for ragi’s body

April 03, 2020 06:35 AM

COURESY HT APRIL 3Verka villagers don’t allow use of crematorium for ragi’s body
FINAL JOURNEY : His last rites performed on common land; SGPC president calls it shameful

Then President Pratibha Patil honouring Bhai Nirmal Singh with the Padma Shri in 2009. HT file photo
Surjit Singh

surjit.singh@htlive.com

Amritsar : Residents of Verka village, on the outskirts of the city, did not allow the administration to cremate the body of Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa, a former hazoori ragi (gurbani singer) of Harmandar Sahib, in the village crematorium on Thursday. The site was chosen only because was it on the outskirts. Villagers were apprehensive of the fear of spread of the infection to those living around the crematorium. Khalsa, a Padma Shri awardee, had died due to covid-19 on Thursday about 4:30am.

Finally, Khalsa was cremated on village common land. In the afternoon, residents, along with local Congress leader Harpal Singh Verka, had locked the crematorium. “We fear that the smoke will affect the health of people living around the crematorium, since this disease is not curable,” said Harpal. The two main crematoriums, the Durgiana Temple and the Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj, are in densely-populated areas.

SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal said, “Nothing is as sorrowful as the stand of the villagers, who have invited shame for the Sikh community. We will build a memorial for Khalsa.” Akal Takht jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh said, “It is the worst degradation of human values to not give space for cremation to the man, who served at the Harmandar Sahib for decades.” SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the ragi had been insulted and the CM must not allow such incidents to recur.

Akal Takht head granthi Giani Malkeet Singh performed the last rites. Khalsa’s son Amiteshwar Singh was also present.

Late evening, Amritsar DC Shivdular Singh Dhillon claimed that the villagers had repented their mistake, and a memorial would be raised at the cremation spot.

performed wedding rituals on March 15

Moga Health department officials inspected Daudhar and Manawa villages in Moga district, after it emerged that Khalsa had performed wedding rituals at Daudhar village gurdwara on March 15. No one was found symptomatic.

MASTER AT SINGING GURBANI

Born at Jandwala village in Ferozepur, Nirmal Singh learnt ragas mentioned in the Guru Granth Sahib from professor Avtar Singh, an expert of Gurmat Sangeet , at the Shaheed Sikh Missionary College, Amritsar. Khalsa authored two Punjabi books.

13 quarantined in Bathinda

Thirteen persons of Chak Bakhtu village have been home-quarantined for their link with the event at Chandigarh in which Bhai Nirmal Singh was present. Bathinda civil surgeon Dr Amrik Singh said nine persons of the village had gone to Chandigarh to attend the event held on March 19. They had come in contact with four more persons of the village.

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