|« Back to article||Print this article|
The mortal remains of Sarabjit Singh, who died after being brutally assaulted by fellow inmates in a Lahore jail, were consigned to flames in his native village in Bikhiwind on Friday afternoon with state honours.
Shops and commercial establishments in the area remained shut. The village witnessed angry protests with locals raising anti-Pakistan slogans and burning effigies.
A large number of people, including women, were present in Bikhiwind for the cremation of 49-year-old Sarabjit who succumbed to his injuries in a Lahore hospital on Thursday following a brutal attack on Friday last in Kot Lakhpat Jail where he was lodged since 1990.
Earlier, the tri-colour draped coffin of Sarabjit was earlier kept on the premises of a government school in Bikhiwind for public to pay their respects.
'Sahabd kirtan' was recited at the venue and religious hymns played on speakers, even as mourners raised anti-Pakistan slogans and chanted "Sarabjit Amar Rahe".
Click on NEXT to read further...
The final journey of Sarabjit commenced at around 1:15 pm as the coffin carrying his body was taken to a flower bedecked funeral van which will proceed to the cremation ground located 400 metres from the school.
Sarabjit's family members, including sister Dalbir Kaur, wife Sukhpreet Kaur and daughters Swapandeep Kaur and Poonam, and son-in-law Sanjay joined the funeral procession, which took nearly an hour to reach the cremation ground after taking a round of the village.
On way to the cremation ground, the body was placed in front of the village Gurdwara where the Granthi read out brief prayers.
Among others, Union minister Preneet Kaur, Congress MP Vijainder Singla, Punjab Congress Chief Partap Singh Bajwa and Punjab Congress political affairs incharge Harish Choudhary joined the funeral procession.
Besides, Punjab Ministers Anil Joshi, Rattan Singh Ajnala and MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha and National Commission for Scheduled Caste Vice Chairman Raj Kumar Verka were also present.
The Punjab government has announced a state funeral and a three-day mourning as a mark of respect to Sarabjit, besides financial aid and government jobs for his family.
The village with a population of around 11,000 and located about 36 kms from Amritsar, is in a state of mourning since Thursday. Residents had started gathering near the house of the family after the news of Sarabjit's death spread.
Officials of the district administration have made arrangements for the state funeral in the outskirts of Bikhiwind. Police personnel have been deployed in large numbers in the village.
Meanwhile, a second autopsy was conducted last night by a team of six doctors at the government-run Amritsar Medical College to ascertain the cause of Sarabjit's death. The first postmortem was carried out at the Jinnah Hospital in Lahore.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has demanded an independent probe by an international agency into the circumstances leading to Sarabjit's death.
According to his family, Sarabjit had inadvertently crossed the zero-line near here in an inebriated state while working in his fields which run along the border.
Meanwhile, Dalbir Kaur said the issue of her brother's murder must be raised by the Union government at an international forum.