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SAD-BJP Govt gives dead man’s frozen body Z-security to secure vote bank

Chanchal Manohar Singh | August 30, 2014 04:13 PM
Ashutosh Maharaj, founder of the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) (file pic)
Chanchal Manohar Singh

HC seeks reply from government

In reply to a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Punjab Government has stated that Ashutosh Maharaj, founder of the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS), and self-styled godman, died a natural death eight months ago. His body has been kept in a freezer since then and Z-category security provided to it.

Taking cognisance of a petition against the Z-category security given to Ashutosh Maharaj, who has been declared clinically dead, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Punjab Government, seeking its reply on the issue. The petitioner has sought directions for recovering the expenses incurred on providing Z-security to the body during this period. 

Petitioner Harinder Singh Sidhu and others have argued that the head of DJJS Ashutosh Maharaj had died more than seven months ago and was declared clinically dead in January, 2014, but the Z-security provided to him was continuing. The petitioners sought directions to Punjab Government to withdraw the security cover. Hearing the contention, a Division Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Ashutosh Mohunta asked the state government to file its reply on the issue on September 11. The Punjab Government has earlier clarified before the high court that Ashutosh Maharaj had died a natural death. 

A team of doctors had declared Ashutosh Maharaj clinically dead and that he had died a natural death. However, a group of his followers that has control over the Nurmahal dera and his body, has been claiming that he is in "deep samadhi" and that he is lying in a sleeping posture. They believe that he would return to normal life one day. They claim that in the past also, Ashutosh Maharaj had gone into deep samadhi many times and returned to normal life thereafter.

No one is allowed to see his body kept in a lifesize freezer, specially designed to keep the body well preserved in lying posture.

Ashutosh, who was 75, had not appointed any successor to take his place in the dera nor had he groomed anyone as his replacement in the eventuality of sudden death.

Now comes the question as to who would be the owner of his property that is stated to be worth several thousand crore rupees. Several hundred crores of rupees are also lying untouched in various bank deposits. Who will take possession of the movable and immovable property?

It is also intriguing as Ashutosh did not leave any will for his son or other relatives or any person from the management of the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan.

Sources close to the sansthan, on the condition of anonymity, say that the group of veteran devotees managing the affairs of the sansthan after his death has failed to resolve the matter or reach any decision as to who should be appointed his successor. Until the leadership issue is resolved, Ashutosh’s death would not be declared.

His body has been preserved at the DJJS headquarters in Nurmahal, a small town in Jalandhar district. Ashutosh set up deras in all districts and small towns of Punjab. He also built deras in New Delhi and some places in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. In addition, he set up deras in the UK and the USA.

Ashutosh’s son has made several attempts to take his father’s body to his native village in Bihar for cremation, but the managers at Nurmahal have not allowed him to even have a look at his dead father.

No one has any information as to how long the Nurmahal dera would keep his body in this manner.

But thousands of Ashutosh’s devotees still throng the dera to pay obeisance to their godman and believe that he is in samadhi and still looks after their well-being.

Most of the devotees wear a locket with a picture of their bearded and smiling guru. Such is their faith in him.

Meanwhile, eight months have passed and the Punjab Government continues to provide Z-security to the frozen dead man’s body at Nurmahal. No one from the government or SAD (Badal) or BJP has made any statement over this controversy.

Why? Because it is a question of votes of his followers who are spread all over Punjab. A majority of them are Dalits and from other similar castes. 

The Punjab Government is not likely to initiate any measure to resolve the issue for fear of annoying lakhs of devotees of Ashutosh and losing their votes.

Maharaj Ashutosh would never have thought that his body would be disgraced in this way by freezing for months by his devotees it after his death?

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