Amid gloom, devotees cry for Bharat Ratna to seer

As the sea of crowd queued up before the body of Shivakumara Swamy, cries demanding Bharat Ratna for the seer reverberated across the exhibition grounds here on Tuesday. Screen grab

As the sea of crowd queued up before the body of Shivakumara Swamy, cries demanding Bharat Ratna for the seer reverberated across the exhibition grounds here on Tuesday.

From toddlers sitting on the shoulders of their fathers to women and old men, all shouted slogans - "Honour the seer, give Bharat Ratna now" and "Siddaganga's god, live forever".

None of the officials were in a position to estimate the number of people who poured in from the two gates. Senior police officers said about 3 lakh people would have got a glimpse of the pontiff who touched the lives of crores of people with his humanitarian work.

The hours of sobbing seemed to be over as a deeper sense of mourning had set in. There were still some teary-eyed faces, especially those who have come from places in far northern parts of the state. Even the police personnel on duty wore a grim face.

People dared searing sun and stood in long and winding queues that stretched for more than 2 km from the gate to right up to the stage where the seer's body was seated in a glass box.
Children of the mutt carried drinking water in large buckets to help those standing in queues.

After paying respects to the seer, the crowd went past the stage in another long queue that led to community halls and exit doors. Eight community halls have been set up to serve meals for the devotees.
 

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Amid gloom, devotees cry for Bharat Ratna to seer

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