Have birthright for last rites: Ashutosh Maharaj's son

Patna: The son of spiritual guru Ashutosh Maharaj, who was declared clinically dead early this year but kept in deep freeze, Thursday demanded his birthright to perform the last rites of his father at his native village in Bihar.

"It's my birthright as per age Hindu tradition to perform the last rites of my father. I deserve my right and my father also deserves his last rites soon," Dilip Jha, son of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan head Ashutosh Maharaj, told the media here.

Jha told IANS he will approach the court seeking justice to perform the last rites in his native village Laknaur in Madhubani district.

"I will file a petition in court and seek its intervention to allow me to perform the last rites of my father in my native village," he said.

Jha's remarks came after the Punjab and Haryana High Court early this week directed the Punjab government to cremate the body of Ashutosh Maharaj within 15 days.

Jha claimed he possesses documents and other evidence to prove that he was Ashutosh Maharaj's son.

He said he visited the sect premises in Jalandhar, Punjab, in February to claim his father's body for cremation. But followers of his father, who he said "have vested interests", stopped him.

Doctors declared Ashutosh Maharaj clinically dead in January but his followers claim he was in deep trance.

Jha said he was also hurt by the sect's claims that Ashutosh Maharaj had no family.

"My father's name was Mahesh Jha and he was a graduate in English. He left the family in 1973," he said.

He said his mother Anandi Devi, now 70, told him that he was only a year old when his father left their village for Delhi to pursue higher education but never returned.

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