As the news of the passing away of Balagangadharanatha Swami of the Adichunchanagiri Maha samsthana Math in a private hospital here spread on Sunday night, a large number of his followers thronged the hospital. The body was kept there for about half an hour before it was taken to the math’s branch in Vijayanagar.
Over 500 police personnel had been deployed in and around the hospital.
Police Commissioner B.G. Jyothi Prakash Mirji announced that everyone would get an opportunity to pay their last respects to the seer. “We have taken all steps to maintain peace. All senior police officials have been summoned and around 1,000 police personnel are on duty. The Karnataka State Reserve Police has been asked to take up positions at key areas. Security has been tightened on roads leading to Tumkur, Hosur, Mysore and Bellary,” Mr. Mirji said.
All roads leading to the math’s branch in Vijayanagar were barricaded, and traffic was diverted to Rajajinagar 6th Block.
A large number of devotees had gathered outside the math in Vijayanagar when the the body reached there from the hospital. Many people were seen arguing with the police in an attempt to make their way into the math branch.
Religious leaders and politicians, including Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashok, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Arvind Limbavali and the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, paid their last respects to the seer at the math branch.
The body was placed in a sealed coffin draped with the national flag on a dais.
Soon after the news of the death was announced, condolences came pouring in from various quarters.
Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M. Veerappa Moily, who rushed to the hospital on hearing the news, expressed grief over the demise of the seer whom he described as a “true secularist”. Mr. Moily is said to have met the seer in the ICU minutes before he passed away.
Ananth Kumar, MP, who visited the hospital, said that BJP leaders, including those at the Centre, had expressed their condolences.
The former Minister for External Affairs S.M. Krishna said that the seer left an indelible mark in the fields of religious activities, education and health.
The seer believed that service to mankind is god’s work, Mr. Krishna said.
G. Parameshwara, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president, expressed shock at the seer’s demise.
BJP State president and Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa said that the seer had contributed significantly in the field of religion, education and environment.
Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy and Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs S. Suresh Kumar have expressed condolences.