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Tight security in India's Punjab for slain preacher's funeral

  • Story Highlights
  • Tensions ease in Punjab after widespread violence over Sikh guru's death
  • Sant Rama Nand shot dead in temple in Vienna, Austria; another guru wounded
  • Nand's body is due to arrive from Vienna early Thursday
By Harmeet Shah Singh
CNN
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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Police tightened security Wednesday in India's Punjab for the funeral of a preacher whose killing in Vienna, Austria sparked violent protests in the Sikh majority state last week.

The body of Rama Sand lies in state in Vienna before being transported to India.

The body of Rama Sand lies in state in Vienna before being transported to India.

Top-ranking officers are camping in Jalandhar district, where Rama Nand will be cremated Thursday, said Parag Jain, Punjab's inspector-general of police.

"Security arrangements are elaborate," he told CNN.

Nand's body is due to arrive from Vienna early Thursday in Sachkhand Ballan, a monastery dedicated to Guru Ravidass, a 14th-century low-caste Hindu spiritual figure.

Guru Ravidass' writings are predominantly found in the primary Sikh scriptures called the Guru Granth Sahib, placed in the sect temples as in the Sikh houses of worship.

Sect head Niranjan Dass, who was injured in the Vienna assault, will also be arriving Thursday, Sachkhand Ballan secretary S.R. Heer said.

The sikh guru's death led to widespread violence across the Punjab region, which resulted in the army and federal security forces being called in to restore order.

Thousands took part in demonstrations across the Doaba region, where protesters attacked public transportation, knocking out train service in some areas. They also blocked a national highway to Jammu, CNN sister network CNN-IBN reported.

A number of businesses were ransacked as well. Police reported one death.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself a Sikh, appealed for calm, in a statement.

"There is no place for violence in a secular society like India's and certainly no excuse whatsoever for the violation of the sacred premises of a (Sikh temple) for narrow sectarian or other purposes," India's Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

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