Gurbaksh Singh used to be a police constable here before he retired a few years ago. Today, his head and shoulders bandaged after being beaten with a crowbar by a crowd of vengeance-seeking Hindus, he sits forlornly outside the police station in this poor suburb of New Delhi waiting for news of his son, who is locked up inside.

Gurbaksh Singh, 65, and his son, 30, are Sikhs, part of a small but independent-minded religious group that also, much to the sadness and outrage of the vast majority of Indians, produced the assassins who gunned down Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on Wednesday and plunged this vast nation into sudden turmoil.

As the funeral procession bearing Gandhi's body made its way slowly through the capital's center today, this suburb seemed relatively calm.

But residents here and in nearby communities along the city's southern edge talked of the mixture of fear, revenge, hope, sadness and, most of all, shock at what has taken place and what it may mean for the future.

Many people said it would be a very long time, if ever, before India's Hindus, who make up 83 percent of this country's population, might once again trust the Sikhs, whose 15 million adherents account for only 2 percent of India's 717 million people.

But the Sikhs have always been more powerful than their numbers. They are an enterprising minority, praised as good warriors and holding a disproportionately high share of the top jobs in the nation's military, civil service and commercial life.

Indeed, one reason the crowds at today's funeral were far below some forecasts is that the Sikhs dominate operation of the capital's ground transportation system and few, if any, buses or taxis were running.

"But this is the last straw," said one well-educated Hindu woman from nearby Chittranjan. "Whatever respect there was for them, or sympathy for their cause, is gone. It is insane that 2 percent of the population should create such chaos. Now it must be asked, who can you trust among this lot?"

"The violent reaction of Hindus now is really part of us keeping quiet for the past three years," said Ravi Shankar, a 25-year-old worker in this village.

In those years, the demand for political autonomy grew in the Sikh-dominated state of Punjab to the north, and along with that came Sikh extremists who engaged in murder and terrorism.

Still, said another 25-year-old resident whose single name is Doraiswamy, the assassination of the prime minister plunged the situation to depths that were, for all the earlier tension in Punjab, "really sudden and unexpected here. We will no longer trust them, no longer have faith in them."

The spillover of Hindu outrage at Sikh extremists onto moderate Sikhs outside Punjab, including a million in and around New Delhi, reflects both the frustration of those Hindus seeking revenge and the shame that many others feel about the indiscriminate violence that has left hundreds of Sikhs dead and injured.

While Sikhs are being pulled off trains and killed, there are reports of many others being sheltered by their Hindu neighbors. Yesterday, a large group of Hindu leaders, in a statement, said the senseless violence "makes our heads hang in shame" and "brings disgrace upon the entire Hindu community."

Here in Nanak Pura, a community of 10,000 to 15,000 people, residents say the approximately 100 Sikh families have not been harmed. But the Sikhs have not left their homes, and have taken their names off the front of their houses.

Krishan Lal Arora, a 71-year-old former bodyguard to India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, said he feels no hatred for the Sikhs as a people, the assassination was the work of "cowards" and the retribution the work of "miscreants."

But in the neighboring community of Munirka, the smoke still is rising from the burned-out shops, gas stations and homes of Sikhs and hostile crowds of Hindus tell reporters to get out.

Waiting in a milk line in Nanak Pura, Neelam Yadav, a 34-year-old housewife, said: "Respect for ladies will decrease after Indira Gandhi's death. We felt so proud of her as a woman."

Both Neelam and her sister-in-law, Sushila Yadav, 44, said they believe that the new prime minister, Indira Gandhi's son Rajiv, "must have learned something from his mother." Accordingly, Neelam Yadav said, there should be some confidence that the country will not be allowed to slip into greater violence and political turmoil.

Some ill-defined confidence in Rajiv appears to be rather widespread in these neighborhoods.

It seems based almost entirely upon the feeling that somehow, something of his mother's extraordinary political skill "must" have rubbed off on this reluctant and inexperienced 40-year-old heir to Indian political power, who many of the nation's pundits believe is not up to the job.

Almost all of more than a dozen people interviewed said they expected the violence to end soon.

What seemed most striking about these suburbs today, however, was that they were crowded. Many people were on the streets, and there were cricket games on sandlots.

Clearly, many people did not go to the funeral even though it was only a few miles away. The lack of buses and taxis was one reason cited. The psychological jolt of the violence, whether or not it touched a specific community, was another.

People said that they were afraid to venture beyond their communities. Many feared a last surge of violence after the funeral, and bands of Sikhs as well as Hindus still were striking at night.

"Nothing like this has happened before," many people said, discounting the turmoil of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 that sent millions of Hindus, Moslems and Sikhs fleeing in both directions and left about a million dead.

There also were few expressions of personal warmth for Indira Gandhi by those interviewed. This might reflect concern over the political and leadership loss that many people feel, and concern over the violence that has followed.

People also said that they stayed away because the funeral was televised.

Earlier this year, the government announced plans to expand television reception nationwide, including installing communal television sets in regions where people were too poor to buy their own sets.

Many observers viewed the move as linked to the coming political campaign and elections this year, although the government denied it.