Jammu and Kashmir High Court appointed panel on Wednesday raided two ‘ashrams’ at Dyalachak and Bhagwati Nagar locality in Jammu City, both managed by absconding self-styled preacher Virender Dev Dikshit, to find out the nature of activities being carried out inside the premises.
The committee was set up by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan while hearing a PIL filed in the State High Court by Dogra Sangathan.
Serious allegations were made by the petitioner in the PIL about the working of the ‘ashrams’ run by the self-styled godman.
The committee comprised Senior Additional Advocate General Seema Shekhar and Kavita Suri member of the J&K State Women Commission.
The raid in Bhagwati Nagar continued till late Wednesday evening and efforts were made by the members of the commission, assisted by the state police, to dig details of disciples who are still visiting the ashram even in the absence of their self-styled ‘Guru’.
A group of elderly ladies were residing inside the building where several disciples turned up in the ashram on different occasions. These women were found to be from Bengal, Orissa and Maharashtra. The members of the commission quizzed caretakers present inside the building to find answers to numerous questions.
According to official sources, self-styled spiritual Guru, Virender Dev Dikshit is absconding ever since women and young girls were rescued from his ashram in North West Delhi in December 2017 .
Since then he is dodging sleuths of Central Bureau of Investigation. He is believed to be hiding somewhere in Nepal.
According to locals in the area, despite several complaints the police had not acted in advance. Locals in Bhagwati Nagar said , ” Ever since Virender Dev Dikshit went missing the local ashram in Bhagwati Nagar was not seized by the police”.
They said, “We lodged several complaints before the police to check the mysterious activities going on inside the building, rented by the caretakers of the ashram in the narrow lane opposite to Assa Ram Bapu Ashram in Bhagwati Nagar area”.
Referring to the modified caged structure, the locals said, “If the spiritual guru claims he is running some Adhyatmik Vishwavidalya why the building has been converted in to a caged structure”.
“Like other religious places the building could have been thrown open to all the disciples. Why grills have been fixed inside the rented building. People in the area are curious to know the nature of activities going on without any check in the area”, residents of Bhagwati Nagar asked.
Owner of the building Mukesh Gupta claimed that he requested the caretakers to vacate the building on numerous occasions but instead of vacating the building they attacked him and threatened him with dire consequences.
In Dyalachak also the same team raided the ashram of godman Virendar Dev Dikhsit. At least half a dozen disciples including members of a family of Chunni Mahajan and Meena Devi were present there. The building in the area was owned by Veero Devi, official sources said.
Mukesh Gupta, owner of the Bhagwati Nagar building said, “Many girls from Dayalchak are missing. The locals briefed the committee about suspicious activities in these ashrams and the committee will submit the report to the Court.” State times