BEAS, Punjab, India Reuter: Only two months ago a small party of frightened, homeless Punjabis begged shelter in the spacious grounds of the Dera in this small riverside town, and the Maharaj took them in.

The word soon spread and a steady trickle of people, averaging 20 a day, now arrives in Beas seeking shelter.

Each of them is vetted by retired Brigadier Gurbachan Singh Bal, its administrator, who with kindly severity listens to their tales and admits those, Hindus and Sikhs alike, who are in genuine need.

More than 800 people now live here, most of them with harrowing tales of lives scattered by the violence that has brought death to more than 600 people in Punjab this year.

Niranjan Singh and his wife, Swaran Kaur, saw their son, daughter in law shot dead before their eyes. They themselves survived, he with a bullet through the mouth, she with wounds in her side, her thigh and her arm.

A second son, coming to see them in hospital a few days later, ‘was gunned down in Amritsar, the Sikh holy city.

Article extracted from this publication >> April 29, 1988