Golden Temple ex-Hazoori Raagi dies of Covid-19 (Lead)

Chandigarh, April 2 (IANS) A day after testing positive for coronavirus, Padma Shri Nirmal Singh Khalsa, former Hazoori Raagi of the Golden Temple, died of cardiac arrest in Amritsar on Thursday morning.

With this, the Covid-19 toll increased to five in Punjab that has registered 47 cases.

Singh, 67, had visited Britain in November, was was admitted to hospital with complications due to breathlessness and dizziness.

After tests at Shri Guru Ramdas Research Institute of Medical Sciences on March 29, he was referred to the Guru Nanak Hospital for advanced diagnosis. He was admitted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital in Amritsar on March 30.

According to civil surgeon Prabhdeep Kaur Johal, Singh was put on ventilator on Wednesday night as his condition worsened due to bronchial asthma.

The police have sealed houses in the neighbouhood of Singh’s residence in Amritsar and a Chandigarh locality he visited recently.

Singh, one of the most celebrated Ragis who had command over all 31 raags associated with the Gurbani, was the first Hazoori Raagi of the Golden Temple to be bestowed Padma Shri in 2009.

A health department team visited Singh’s residence in Amritsar on March 3 when it came to know that he had two guests from the US.

“When the 14-day home isolation of the guests was over on March 17, they were found asymptomatic. After that Singh went to Chandigarh for a kirtan samagam on March 19 that had a gathering of nearly 100,” said a health official.

The 10-member family along with three servants in Chandigarh’s Sector 27 has been isolated.

Singh had also met eco warrior Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal in the Kapurthala district on March 13.

“Deeply saddened to learn of the unfortunate passing away of Hazuri Ragi Padma Shri Bhai Nirmal Singh Ji. My deepest condolences to his family and his large family of followers across the globe,” Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tweeted.