Baba Jai Gurudev, the godman whose followers are behind the Mathura riots

A little-known outfit called the Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi is behind the violent clashes in Mathura. Here is who they are, the godman they follow and what they want to achieve

India Today/June 3, 2016

By Vivek Surendran

A violent clash between the Police and activists of two outfits we've not heard much about, the Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi and the Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena, have left 24 people dead in Mathura, including an SP and an SHO. 

Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi

  • An outfit claiming allegiance to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, this sect have engaged in violent protests in the past as well.
  • The outfit is a breakaway faction of Swadheen Bharat Vidhik Satyagrahi, followers of Baba Jai Gurudev.
  • They've been occupying the Jawahar Bagh on the pretext of 'dharna' for over two years now.
  • The police have been able to identify only one of the group's leaders, Ram Vriksha Yadav.

Why are they protesting ? What are their demands?

  • Make all documents related to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose public.
  • Scrapping of electoral process to appoint President and Prime Minister.
  • Make available 60 litres of diesel and 50 litres of petrol at Re 1 each.
  • Replacement of current Indian currency with what they call "Azad Hind Fauj" currency.

Who is Baba Jai Gurudev?

Jai Gurudev was a self-styled godman who died in 2012, allegedly at the age of 116, leaving behind assets worth Rs 1,200 crore.

Jai Gurudev had luxurious ashrams on the Delhi-Mathura Highway and in Uttar Pradesh's Etawah district. He had land worth Rs 4,000 crore and cars worth Rs 150 crore. It is said that his followers make a donation of not less than Rs 12 lakh daily at his ashrams.

His followers occupied Jawahar Bagh in 2014 to claim his property through protest and make the above stated demands.
"I am Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose" said Baba Jai Gurudev.

On 13 January, 1975, a rally was supposed to take place in Kanpur's Nanarao park, and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose himself was allegedly supposed to take part in it.

Despite knowing and believing that Netaji died in a plane crash 30 years ago, there was a huge crowd in the park with people eagerly waiting to catch a glance of their hero.
What happened next?

Jai Gurudev took the stage, raised both his hands to a baffled crowd and said "I'm Subhash Chandra Bose". Before he could finish saying that people rained slippers, rotten eggs and tomatoes on him. The police had to order a lathicharge to control the angry crowd.
No solid information is available on Gurudev's early life. There are rumours that say he lost his parents as a child, and left home at the age of seven in pursuit of a perfect spiritual master and that the search ended when he met Saint Ghurelal Sharma in Aligarh. Another story claims that Gurudev used to perform sadhana for over 18 hours every day.

Within a short span, he set up ashrams that looked grander than the Taj Mahal, and lured in many followers from backward classes who hailed him a hero. When we say he's got following, we mean it. 

He entered Indian politics in the 80s and 90s with his Doordarshi party, contested in hundreds of elections but never won any. That may explain why his followers are against elections.

Cases against Gurudev and his followers

Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation has filed 16 cases in the Mathura court accusing the ashram and his followers of encroaching on hundreds of acres of industrial land.

Mathura district magistrate received 23 complaints from farmers accusing Gurudev's followers of forcefully taking over their farmland.
Now that explains the sect's fascination with encroachment. 

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