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Villagers join Ashutosh family’s fast
Umesh Dewan
Tribune News Service

Nurmahal, February 8
Residents of Lakhnaur village in Madhubani, Bihar, today joined the family of Ashutosh Maharaj, head of the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS), in their indefinite fast that began yesterday. They are demanding that the godman’s body be handed over to his family for the last rites.

Speaking to The Tribune over the phone from Bihar, Ashutosh’s son Dalip Jha said, “We are scared to visit Nurmahal as dera followers are very influential. Hence, the family members and villagers are staging a dharna at Lakhnaur. We will break our fast only after Ashutosh Maharaj alias Mahesh Kumar Jha’s body is handed to the family.”

Dalip Jha said he and his family members would meet Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday. He said he had given a formal application to Deputy Commissioner, Madhubani, Lokesh Kumar requesting help. “I have mentioned in the application that the district administration should intervene and help the family in getting the body so that it can be cremated without delay.” Speaking to The Tribune, Dalip’s brother-in-law Mohan Jha alleged that Ashutosh has not died a natural death but has been murdered at Nurmahal Dera.

Mohan said that he would make a formal complaint at Lakhnaur police station for the registration of an FIR under Section 302 of the IPC. He said, “The way the entire issue has unfolded indicates that there has been foul play. I am sure that Ashutosh has been murdered at the dera. A case should be registered so that a proper investigation is conducted and the guilty get punished.”

Dera chief spokesperson Swami Vishalanand refuted the allegations. Reiterating that Ashutosh is single and presently in a state of samadhi (deep meditation), he said, “We do not want to comment on false allegations being levelled by someone claiming to be Ashutosh’s family member. If any competent authority or court asks us, we will give our version.” He said, “Where was the family for the past three decades?”

Some dera representatives, on the condition of anonymity, claimed that when the Punjab police had submitted a report in the Punjab and Haryana High Court that Ashutosh was “clinically dead” and reason for it was cardiac arrest, the murder “charge” doesn’t stand.

Meanwhile, the Bhootnath temple caretaker Davinder Kumar said Dera Nurmahal has yet not returned the second portable mortuary taken from the temple.





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