Sarabjit Singh cremated with state honours

IndiaRelatives and others carry the coffin containing the body of Sarabjit Singh, a convicted Indian spy who died after he was bludgeoned with a brick by two fellow inmates at a Pakistani prison, at Bhikhiwind, India. (AP)

Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who died after being brutally assaulted in a Pakistani jail, was cremated with full state honours in his village Friday as thousands of people, including a host of prominent politicians, paid their last respects.

A posse of Punjab police fired three shots in the air as a mark of respect as Sarabjit's body was consigned to the flames. The pyre was lit by his sister Dalbir Kaur, who had been heading a vigorous campaign seeking the release of Sarabjit.

Dalbir, Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur and daughters Swapandeep and Poonam were inconsolable during the cremation and the daughters were seen being supported by policewomen.

Click here to read: Sister who fought alone and drew in others

The mourners were led by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur, Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa, Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma, Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Avtar Singh Makkar.

Click here to read: Two nations and many flip-flops

Rahul Gandhi spent nearly 40 minutes at the cremation. The Punjab government, which had already announced Rs 1 crore for Sarabjit's family and government jobs to his daughters, accorded Sarabjit the title of 'martyr of the nation' in a resolution passed at a special session of the state Assembly.

Bhikhiwind turned into a virtual fortress with heavy deployment of police as thousands of people gathered at the cremation ground. People crowded on the roofs of houses in the area as well to catch a glimpse of the funeral.

Earlier, politicians and other visitors to the village turned up in large numbers at the local school where Sarabjit's body was placed in a glass enclosure for people to pay their last respects.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.