Faith in freezer: Doctors inspect ‘mummified’ Ashutosh Maharaj at dera

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It’s kept in freezer for more than two years and six months now. It looks mummified and dark, says one of the doctors who got access to the body of Nurmahal dera head Ashutosh Maharaj on Tuesday.
The spiritual head of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) is clinically dead since January 29, 2014. The dera claims its founder is in “deep meditation”. To file an expert report to the Punjab and Haryana high court on September 16, the team of more than 15 doctors was at the dera.
The team included the heads of the anatomy and physiology departments of Patiala’s Government Rajindra Medical College and Hospital. The dera management resisted it initially, citing “religious sentiments” and other issues. “However, when we insisting on carrying out the high court orders, they allowed two senior doctors to examine the body,” said a senior member of the team.
Rajindra Medical College principal BL Bhardwaj confirmed the development. “We’ll share the details with the court alone,” he said. Jalandhar assistant civil surgeon Dr Des Raj assisted the Patiala team. A member said on the condition of anonymity that the body was kept under controlled conditions and its skin had turned black. “It has deteriorated like an ordinary mummified body.”
When on December 1, 2014, a single bench of the high court had asked the state government to cremate the body in 15 days, the district administration team was not allowed near the chamber. A division bench had to stay the order.
Dalip Kumar Jha, who claims to be sect head’s son, is seeking to perform Ashutosh’s funeral. The government’s counsel has stated, earlier, that allowing that could disrupt law and order.