Amid uneasy calm and heavy rush of followers at the headquarters of the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) here, the sect management decided to move the Supreme Court against the verdict of the Punjab and Haryana high court directing the state government to perform the last rites of sect head Ashutosh within 15 days.
Ashutosh was declared clinically dead in January but the sect has kept the body in a freezer insisting that he is in samadhi, or deep meditative state.
Though DJJS top management did not take calls or let journalists enter the campus, spokesman Swami Vishalananda said in a text message: “We will appeal against the HC order in the apex court, in which it has been directed to cremate Ashutosh Maharaj’s body within 15 days.”
The HC order came on two petitions seeking a probe into Ashutosh’s “mysterious death” and release of his mortal remains to perform last rites. However, the court declined to give the remains to Dalip Kumar Jha, who claims to be Ashutosh’s son and another petitioner Puran Singh, who claims to be the sect head’s former driver. The spokesman underlined this and said Dalip is not the biological son of Ashutosh.
Sources in the sect said most of the members of the top management had reached the dera and held a meeting in which the decision to move the apex court was taken.
Meanwhile, the court orders ignited frustration among the followers and the management as immediately after the verdict a large number of muscleman were deputed on all entrances of the premises. A large number of devotees started gathering and they also blockaded a road with barricades around a kilometre from the main premises. This road leads to Kotla village nearby.
When media personnel tried to go through the barricades to talk to the DJJS management, the followers deployed there manhandled them and hurled abuses.
‘Like Rampal’s followers’
Gulshan Lal, station house officer of Nurmahal police, was called but even he could not take the media beyond the barricades. Deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Satish Malhotra later took about 20 minutes to convince the dera men to allow the media to get near the premises. That came only after the DSP told the sect followers not to behave “like Rampal’ followers”. Rampal is another sect head from Hisar in Haryana who was arrested recently after a violent clash between his followers and police at his ashram.
There are police inside the premises but the main enclosure where Ahsutohs’ body has been kept has been kept out of bounds by the sect’s private security personnel and followers.
Sources said followers have been asked by the DJJS management to reach the headquarters as soon as possible.