A day after the Punjab and Haryana high court ordered the Punjab government to perform the last rites of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) head Ashutosh, cops were still apparently helpless in accessing the body or even the dera completely.
The body has been kept under refrigeration for 10 months now, with the sect claiming that he was alive and in samadhi or meditation.
More than 200 cops remained deployed at different entry points of the main campus, but it was the dera’s security wing that was managing affairs right from entry of the visitors, their frisking, to disallowing anyone from entering.
On the public road leading to the sect headquarters, heavy deployment of dera task force could be seen. This road that passes beside the dera premises to Kotla village has thus been illegally taken over by the DJJS men.
When a team of journalists tried to go onto the road where the DJJS men have erected barricades, even a police team led by inspector-rank official DS Gill could not get the men to obey state orders. Eventually, mediapersons were allowed to reach the main gate after directions came from inside the dera. Harjinder Singh, a dera follower who was leading the men at the barricade on the road, said the DJJS had taken control of the government road “after getting nod from the local police”.
More than 10 surveillance cameras have been installed on the one-kilometre road and dera men are guarding this point very closely.
Heavy deployment of DJJS men was also seen at the main building. At the main gate alone, more than 200 DJJS men were guarding the entrance with cops being kept at bay.
Body enclosure off limits
“Nobody knows what is going on inside the dera. The DJJS men are not allowing us to enter the main premises,” a police official on duty told HT.
Sources said the DJJS men allowed delegation of local administrative officials to get into the dera; that too when they promised that they would not enter the enclosure where Ashutosh’s body has been kept.
However, top police officials said they were not showing any assertiveness since the administration was still chalking out a strategy over how to implement the high court orders.
Manjeet Singh, a dera task force manager, when questioned why they had created such a “hostile” atmosphere, said only DJJS spokesman Swami Vishalananda would answer the question.
Meanwhile, activity in the dera increased with heavy number of visitors continuing to throng the headquarters, even though at a meeting of DJJS managers with the local administration on Monday evening the dera men had promised not to create heavy rush of visitors.
In Nurmahal town as well, heavy deployment of police has been done with more than 300 cops at the entry points.
Deputy commissioner KK Yadav said the district administration was studying the judgment and was bound to follow the orders.
DGP meeting in Chandigarh
On Tuesday, director general of police (DGP), Punjab, Sumedh Singh Saini also conducted a meeting with SSP, Jalandhar-rural, Narender Bhargav, in Chandigarh to chalk out the strategy to deal with the case. Sources said the top officials of the government are also closely monitoring the situation as because of controversial history of the management any law and order problem could arise. The administration is also hanging on hopes that the matter may be delayed as the DJJS management is planning to challenge the high court verdict in the Supreme Court, thus not requiring immediate planning for performing the last rites as directed within 15 days of the Monday order.