Body of sect leader killed in Vienna to be flown to India

Vienna, Austria - The body of Sant Rama Nand, the 57-year-old sect leader who died after violence between rival groups at a gurdwara here, will be flown to India, a spokesperson of the Austrian foreign ministry said.

"The latest information is that the Indian embassy is seeking earliest possible repatriation to India," the spokesman, Peter Launsky, told IANS.

However, there was no word on when the body would be flown to India.

Sant Rama Nand died in the morning in a Vienna hospital of injuries received in an attack by six men armed with knives and a pistol during a religious ceremony Sunday.

The condition of Sant Niranjan Das, 68, who was also attacked at the Sunday sermon in the temple, is reported to be stable after an emergency surgery, Austrian authorities said.

At least 16 people were injured in the clash between devotees at the Guru Ravidass gurdwara here and intruders who do not accept his followers as practitioners of Sikhism.

The armed battle between the two groups occurred in the midst of about 200 devotees who had congregated to listen to the sermon of the late Sant Rama Nand and Sant Niranjan Das who were visiting Vienna from India.

Both have been guests in the past at the gurdwara housed in Rudolfsheim, Vienna's busy 15th district. The Rudolfsheim gurdwara is run by devotees of Guru Ravidass, 14th century founder of the sect called Dera Sach Khand. The sect predates founding of Sikh religion in the 15th century.