The controversy surrounding Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) head Ashutosh Maharaj on Monday took another turn with the dera management saying the dera head had been shifted to a refrigerator but he continues to be in samadhi.
The management, who had all along been claiming that Ashutosh Maharaj was in samadhi, on Monday told reporters that on Sunday morning the dera head was shifted to a refrigerator chamber with the temperature at zero degree Celsius.
While parading all leaders of the sect said to be frontrunners in the succession row, along with Harpal, a follower who claims to be a private practitioner in Chandigarh, the dera management admitted that the colour of the "body" had started changing.
"On Sunday morning, our doctor witnessed a change in the colour that has become grayish. That is why we have shifted Swamiji to the refrigerator," said sadhavi Jaya Bharti, head of the media wing of the dera.
However, the doctor, who claimed that he was present at the dera on Tuesday night when the controversy over Ashutosh's mysterious health erupted, said as per his medical knowledge, the dera head was "clinically dead".
"When I reached the ashram around 2 am, I found a team of doctors from Apollo Hospital there and they had declared Swamiji dead after checking his blood pressure and heart beat. However, I believe spirituality goes beyond medical science," said Harpal, an anaesthetist.
Harpal admitted the refrigerator in which the dera head had been kept was generally used to keep dead bodies.
Meanwhile, the dera has returned one of the two mortuary chambers hired by them from the local Bhootnath temple. The second chamber is still with the dera, confirmed the caretaker of the temple.
First step towards reality
It seems the dera may soon announce the death of its head. Insiders suggest that with the case reaching the high court, the management is under immense pressure to disclose the actual position. Sources say though the succession row has been settled, managers are finding it difficult to salvage the situation. Majority of the followers are of the view that the image of the sect has taken a hit with the unnecessary controversy.