Even as the Nurmahal-based dera Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) has rejected reports that it plans to hold a show of strength of its followers in the town on December 14, a day ahead of the Punjab and Haryana high court deadline to the state government to cremate its head Ashutosh Maharaj, the management of the dera assigned specific duties to its centres to ensure a big congregation, on Sunday.
The dera chiefs of the 70-odd centres across the state have been assigned the number of buses that need to be brought in. At some of the bigger centres, like Malout, Ludhiana and Gurdaspur, loudspeakers used for preaching were used to appeal to followers to arrive at Nurmahal on December 14. The dera targets an attendance of 70,000.
Sources in Punjab government said that at the dera headquarter in Nurmahal, followers were asked to arrive using buses provided by local centres.
This preparation does not augur well for the administration, tasked with implementing court orders to cremate Ashutosh Maharaj before December 15.
When contacted, DJJS youth wing chief Harjinder Singh said, “On the second Sunday of each month, followers, especially from Doaba, arrive at the dera. People from other parts of the state also arrive and we do not stop anybody. This is not a show of strength.”
However, sources in the dera said regional centres usually call followers to their premises itself. This time, all followers have been asked to congregate at Nurmahal.
Meanwhile, Bihar native Dalip Jha, who claims to be Ashutosh Maharaj’s son, said he would file a fresh appeal in the division bench of the high court on Monday challenging the single bench orders, which rejected his request to hand over his father’s body to him.
“I will exhaust all legal options. I do not need money. As a son, I only want to perform my father’s last rites. I am ready for a DNA test and if my claims are found false, the court can order the registration of a fraud case against me,” he said. The DJJS is also likely to file another plea challenging the court orders, on Monday.