The Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) has planned a gathering of around 70,000 people on December 14, a day before the high court deadline to cremate “clinically dead” sect head Ashutosh ends.
Though the dera management is claiming that it’s a routine affair as they hold such a gathering (‘bhandara’) on the second Sunday of each month, the timing of this “show of strength” can create obstacles for the district administration in implementing the Punjab and Haryana high court order on the cremation.
According to sources, the administration is in no mood to allow this gathering. Holding the event could be a DJJS strategy to create pressure on the authorities to delay performing the last rites of Ashutosh, whose body has been in a freezer for the past more than 10 months.
“Amid the legal battle, we cannot put off our routine affairs. Generally, 60,000-70,000 people take part in this function,” said dera manager Harjinder Singh, who is also the chairman of the Yuva Parivar Sewa samiti, the sect’s youth wing.
Dera spokesman Swami Vishalananda did not take phone calls by the media. Harjinder said the spokesman was not present on the dera premises.
As per the earlier practice, the DJJS management organises a gathering of 15,000 to 20,000 people every month.
Even as the local administration is yet to take a call on giving permission to the dera for such a big congregation, the dera management has started making preparations for the function.
A visit to the dera premises revealed that a big ground was being levelled in order to prepare it for the event. Temporary toilets are also being installed at various places.
Nakodar deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Satish Malhotra said, “The administration got to know about this dera programme only on Thursday. We have called dera men to brief us on this issue. Our top bosses are monitoring the matter very closely.”
Meanwhile, police activity around the dera has increased, with the Nakodar DSP ordered to be stationed outside the premises. The DSP is also conducting his routine official work from this makeshift office.
The DSP said cops were keeping tabs on visitors to the dera, adding that every night, the number of persons staying in the dera was being recorded in a register by the police. About 400-500 persons are staying overnight on the premises, he said.
Govt to maintain law and order: Sukhbir
Chandigarh: Regarding the high court order on Ashutosh’s cremation, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal said here on Thursday that the state government would maintain law and order.
He neither confirmed nor denied whether the state government would file a review petition in the high court against the single-judge decision ordering Ashutosh’s cremation.
Replying to a query regarding the last rites ordered to be performed by the state government, Sukhbir said the state was taking necessary steps. He said the committee led by the Jalandhar deputy commissioner was finalising the plan for maintaining law and order.