Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today expressed grief over the death of Sikh preacher Sant Ram Singh. "Extremely shocked and saddened on learning the tragic news of Sant Ram Singh ji of Nanaksar Singhra wale from Karnal ending his life at Singhu Border in protest against the Centre's Farm Laws. My prayers are with his family and supporters in this time of grief," he said in a tweet.
Police said Ram Singh allegedly died by suicide near the Singhu border on Wednesday. A handwritten note in Punjabi, purportedly left behind by the Ram Singh, says he was unable to bear the "pain of farmers". The note is being verified by the police.
An official of the Sonipat police said they had received a call that Sant Ram Singh (65), who hailed from Singhra village in Nissing area of Karnal district, allegedly shot himself.
He was rushed to a hospital in Panipat where doctors declared him brought dead.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said Sant Ram Singh's death "is an irreparable loss for the Sant Samaj, the country and the state".
The Haryana chief minister added that the demise was also an "irreparable loss" to him. "This is a moment of great sorrow," he said in a tweet.
Mr Khattar said the real tribute to Mr Singh would be to walk the path of human welfare shown by him.
Sant Ram Singh's body was on Wednesday night taken to the Nanaksar Gurdwara in Singhra village in Karnal, where a large number of his followers had gathered.
Many recalled that he had dedicated his life in service of humanity and also used to organise ''satsangs'' (prayer meetings) and ''langars'' (community kitchen) for thousands of people.
Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union chief Gurnam Singh on Thursday said Sant Ram Singh was a noble soul who dedicated his life to humanity''s service.
"Being a pious soul, he was deeply hurt on seeing the pain and sufferings of thousands of farmers, many among them old and women too, out there on roads during cold wintry days and nights for past several days seeking repeal of anti-farmer laws," he said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had on Wednesday said the Modi government should quit its "stubbornness" and withdraw the new farm laws that the farmers are protesting.
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said he was anguished to hear that the cleric allegedly died by suicide.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and other states have been protesting near Delhi's borders for over three weeks, demanding that the Centre''s new farm laws be repealed.