Janata Dal (United) member of legislative council (MLC) Vinod Kumar Singh has sought help from Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal to bring the body of Ashutosh Maharaj, Nurmahal dera head in a dead-or-alive controversy, to his native village, Lakhnaur in Bihar's Madhubani ditrict.
In the letter written on Sunday, he said the people of the Mithilanchal region in Bihar wanted the cremation of the head of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) in his ancestral village and birthplace as per the local customs and traditions. "However, in view of the controversy created by the seer's disciples over his property, it would not be possible to bring the body of Ashutosh Maharaj to his ancestral village without the intervention of the (Punjab) government," the letter reads.
The Bihar MLC also said he had also written to Badal three days ago for appointment to be able to make a personal request. On Friday, Dalip Kumar Jha, who claims to be son of Ashutosh Maharaj, had said he would go to any length to bring back the body of his father and perform his last rites at Lakhnaur, where he runs a grocery shop.
Dalip is on a hunger strike in Lakhnaur to highlight his demand. "He (Ashutosh Maharaj) is no more and the DJJS is trying to cover up something by claiming that he is in samaadhi (deep meditation)," he said. The family is exploring legal options.
Challenging the dera management's claims that Ashutosh Maharaj had no family, Dalip said his mother, Anandi Devi, 70, and he were upset over the "lies". He claimed that his father's original name was Mahesh Jha, and he had left the family in 1973 (when Dalip was just 1), to pursue higher studies in Delhi but not returned.
Dalip is even willing to undergo a DNA test to prove his claim.