M A I N   N E W S

Misty-eyed devotees pray for Sathya Sai Baba
* Godman fights a losing battle
* Town turns into a fortress
* State govt strengthens security
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, April 21
An uneasy calm prevails in Puttaparthi where the ailing Godman Sathya Sai Baba is fighting a losing battle following multiple organ dysfunction. A panel of specialist doctors treating him for the last 25 days appears to have given up all hopes of recovery.

Several misty-eyed devotees were huddled together praying for the recovery while the Andhra Pradesh government is preparing for the inevitable. The 86-year-old Sathya Sai Baba’s vital organs, including kidneys, liver and lungs are showing poor response to the treatment while his blood pressure and pulse rate are falling. The pilgrim town has been virtually turned into a fortress with the deployment of over 4,000 policemen to prevent any untoward incident.

The State Director General of Police K Aravinda Rao is personally monitoring the deployment of forces in and around Puttaparthi and all the police stations across Anantapur district have been put on alert. Over 150 police checkposts have been set up around the town where prohibitory orders have been promulgated.

“The health condition of Sai Baba is very critical. All the organs are showing very poor response to the treatment. Non-functioning of the liver and persistent episodes of low blood pressure is causing great worry to the doctors,” a medical bulletin issued by Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (SSSIHMS) said today.

“The doctors are making their last-ditch efforts to save him. The situation is extremely grim,” said the State Revenue Minister N Raghuveera Reddy who is camping at Puttaparthi, along with major Industries Minister Dr J Geetha Reddy. The Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy is constantly reviewing the situation with top officials and updating the Centre about the developments. Going by the indications from the hospital, the worst is feared. The official sources said that President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have been briefed about the latest situation. The preparations are also on for their visit to Puttaparthi.

Meanwhile, the all-powerful Sathya Sai Central Trust, which manages a global network of spiritual and social activities initiated by Sathya Sai Baba, held an emergency meeting at Puttaparthi in the wake of reports of an internal tussle for control over the vast spiritual empire. “The situation in the town is peaceful,” the Deputy Superintendent of Police Narasimhulu said.





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