Thousands of devotees in Puttaparthi, massive security for last darshan

Thousands of devotees in Puttaparthi, massive security for last darshan

A massive blanket of security has been thrown around the town as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi are among those expected to come.

With a few hours to go before Sathya Sai Central Trust closes the gates of Prashanti Nilayam for mourners, this pilgrim town is teeming with devotees coming from different parts of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other parts of the country.

The district administration has already announced that devotees will be allowed to have a "last darshan" only till 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Besides Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will also be visiting the town Tuesday.

Former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Karnataka Governor H.R. Bharadwaj, and former Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy were among key devotees who paid their last respects since Monday night.

Anantapur district collector Janardhan Reddy said those standing in the queues at 6 p.m. will be allowed to pay their last respects. He appealed to devotees not to reach Puttaparthi from Tuesday evening till Wednesday afternoon.

The district collector said the devotees would be allowed at the "samadhi" of Baba from Wednesday afternoon.

Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who are reaching the town later in the day, will attend the last rites.

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