It has been more than three months since doctors declared Ashutosh Maharaj, the head of Nurmahal-based Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS), dead on January 28, but the dera management continues to claim that the dera head was in a state of samadhi (deep meditation).
The dera management has denied that they have preserved the body and are sticking to the
samadhi claims, but sources in the dera have confirmed that Ashutosh’s body has been kept in a special wooden case.
Sources said the process of embalming was being used to preserve the body in which chemicals are sprayed on the body regularly.
A special team of doctors from the drugs manufacturing wing of the dera is looking after the body.
Dera spokesman Swami Vishalananda did not take repeated phone calls whereas senior dera official Swami Arvindananda refused to comment.
The dera management is also keeping an eye on the fresh plea moved by Ashutosh’s son and Bihar native Dalip Kumar Jha, who had moved the Punjab and Haryana high court on April 22, saying the body be handed to him for last rites.
Ashutosh originally belongs to Lakhnaur village of Madhubani district in Bihar and had left his wife and son in 1972.
The case will come up for hearing on May 16.
WHAT SCIENCE SAYS
According to Dr Akashdeep Aggarwal, associate professor in the forensic science department at Government Medical College, Patiala, a dead body can be preserved easily by embalming it.
The body can be preserved in two ways — by embalming and by putting it in a freezer.
“But embalming is the prefer red technique as it’s easy and does not need much attention. Often, doctors employ the technique to preserve bodies of foreigners as sending them back takes months,” he said, citing the example of the body of a priest preserved in a Goa church for more than 300 years.
He said preserving the body was legal as long as there was no crime angle to the death.
According to the medical report by dera doctors Ashok, Harpal Singh and Kartar Kaur, submitted in the high court by the Punjab government, the spiritual head was declared clinically dead on January 29.
Though the state government has refused to intervene saying it is a religious matter, the district administration is keeping an eye on the developments at the dera.
A senior official said, “Since the case is pending in the high court, and earlier too, following the petitions filed in the case, the court had sought infor mation from us, we are keeping an eye on the developments at the dera.”