The civil judge here has ordered the trust constituted by the district administration not to interfere in the management of the Baba Jogi Peer shrine.
The shrine,also called the Mecca of the Chahal community, is having more than 200 acres of land and is frequently visited by followers from the community from across the globe. Twice a year in April and September, a fair is held on the premises of the shrine and lakhs of devotees visit it to seek the blessings of Baba Jogi Peer.
The donations and offerings collected at the shrine were previously under the control of the village sarpanch. In 2014, a dispute between the then sarpanch Megha Singh and his detractors over the control of the funds led the administration to constitute a trust (Baba Jogi Pir Trust), headed by the then deputy commissioner Perveen Thind. The committee also included other senior district officials as its members. Later, another deputy commissioner Bhupinder Singh Rai allegedly got the whole property of the shrine registered under the name of the committee. In 2015, the gram panchayat filed a writ petition in the high court against the trust for taking over the shrine.
The panchayat members had then alleged that IG Amar Singh Chahal (then DIG) was harassing them to withdraw the petition. In January this year, the high court disposed of the writ filed by the gram panchayat and transferred it to the court of the civil judge (senior division) in Mansa where a similar petition against the trust filed by Darshan Singh, Jagsir Singh and Mithu Singh was being heard since November last year.
Court finds political pressure and role of a DIG behind the formation of trust
In the non-interference order passed on March 1, the court mentions that, “the deputy commissioner and the senior superintendent of police, under some political pressure and the pressure of a senior police officer, who belongs to the Chahal gotra, were bent upon to grab the Bulland (read the shrine), property donation, contribution of the Bulland. One DIG of the police, who belongs to the Chahal community, in connivance with other officers, had formed a trust to harm the interest of the village gram panchayat and the chahal community at large.” The order also states that, the defendants (which include the district administration) created a trust in the name of Baba Jogi Peer and were out to take control of the shrine.
Deputy commissioner Varinder Sharma said that they would appeal against the judgement in 30 days.