The Punjab and Haryana high court’s decision to listen to all petitions filed in the division bench against the single bench decision to cremate Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (DJJS) head Ashutosh before December 17, has added to the tension of the district administration.
The government is now in a fix over allowing the dera to have its show of strength by holding a bhandara (religious congregation) on December 14.
Since the high court has set the next date to address the petitions as December 15, the administration is apprehensive that most of the DJJS followers may stay at the dera overnight for the function and if the court sticks to its earlier decision, it could create a law and order issue.
Higher authorities divided
Sources in the district administration have also disclosed that the higher authorities are divided over the issue, with certain officials raising their voice against the gathering.
“Since the DJJS is maintaining that it’s a routine function they carry out every second Sunday and they cannot stop their scheduled practices, not allowing the programme would create unnecessary trouble and can instigate followers,” said a senior official of the district administration.
DJJS seeking support
Meanwhile, the DJJS has grand plans to make the show a success. The dera claims around 70,000 followers will participate in the programme.
Sources in different political parties have revealed that the DJJS has also sent messages to them to send their workers for the congregation.
The political wing of the DJJS is reportedly also conducting personal meetings with the leaders of various political parties to seek their support for the ‘samadhi’ claims being made by the dera.
DJJS spokesperson Swami Vishalanand said, “The DJJS has repeatedly told the administration that we are law abiding people and will not take any step that creates tension. Our point is that the bhandara is a religious practice and must go on. Let the court decide on other issues. We are hopeful we will get relief from the court as all the parties have raised objections to the earlier decision.”
Jalandhar deputy commissioner KK Yadav said he would seek a report from the police and Phillaur sub-divisional magistrate in the issue.