Security has been increased around Nurmahal-based Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan, the ashram of Ashutosh Maharaj where a ‘bhandara’(community lunch) will be held today.
“We have spoken to representatives of the ashram. They have said that the ‘bhandara’ is held every month. But we are ready to deal with any untoward incident,” said Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner K K Yadav.
“We have installed cameras there as a routine measure. The ashram itself has made arrangements, but police and civil administration are ready to provide all kind of help to the people coming there,” he added.
Meanwhile, a senior police officer said security arrangements around the ashram have been increased in view of the Sunday’s event.
Policemen have been posted there in large numbers and cameras have been installed around the ashram, he said. The police official said the ashram has been told to wrap up the event and sent back the followers by 5 pm.
The ashram has verbally agreed to this, but policemen have been posted there as a precautionary measure, he added. Meanwhile, spokesman of the ashram Swami Vishalanand said, “The ‘bhandar’ is organised every month, it is a routine event.
This is no show of strength. We have full faith in the law and order system and there will be no trouble in Nurmahal because of the ashram.”
The ashram has been in news after Ashutosh Maharaj was declared clinically dead and Punjab and Haryana High Court set a deadline for performance of his last rites.
However, the followers of the ashram have kept the body inside a deep freezer, stating that the spiritual head had gone into ‘samadhi’ (deep state of meditation) and that he will come out of his meditation one day. On December 1, the court ordered the Sansthan to conduct the last rites of the godman by December 15.
It had directed to constitute a committee under the District Magistrate to look into the matter and asked DGP and Chief Secretary to monitor the situation. However, the ashram on December 4 moved the court seeking a 30-day extension on the deadline given by it to perform the last rites, so that it could challenge the verdict.