Devotees flock to ill Sai Baba



Hyderabad, April 5: Police struggled to contain the influx of Sai Baba devotees into Puttaparthi, as the spiritual guru remained in critical condition for the eighth day today.

Prashanti Nilayam, Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram in Puttaparthi, has become a nerve centre of palace intrigues as the guru has not indicated any successor.

His will, kept in a Chennai bank, can be opened only 24 hours after his death, say some ashram officials familiar with the matter.

A.N. Safaya, the director of the Sathya Sai Baba Hospital, said the guru’s health continued to be critical in spite of receiving CRT treatment for his failing kidney.

A medical bulletin reported no change in his condition since morning.

With the numbers of devotees beginning to swell, district police have cordoned off the hospital premises. Dignitaries have been requested not to come to Puttaparthi.

The Andhra Pradesh government has deputed senior doctors led by health secretary P. V. Ramesh to oversee the ailing guru’s medical treatment.

Hundreds of devotees fished out a statue of local goddess Sathyamma from a local reservoir. Some said the idol’s disappearance had caused the Baba’s ill health.