|Frozen Indian guru keeps faithful waiting
An Indian guru declared dead has been in a deep freezer in his ashram for nearly six weeks and followers are confident he will return to life, his spokesman said.
Devotees placed Ashutosh Maharaj, whom authorities declared clinically dead on January 29, in the freezer and have been watching over his body in the sprawling ashram in a small town in northern Punjab state.
Maharaj, reportedly in his 70s, is one of India's many gurus or god-men who headed the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (Divine Light Awakening Mission) and claims to have millions of followers.
Mission spokesman Swami Vishalanand insisted their leader was not dead but was in fact in a state of samadhi, the highest level of meditation, and was therefore still conscious.
Vishalanand told AFP that followers were now waiting for him to end his meditation. Until then, the ashram in Nurmahal town would stay open.
The decision to place him in the freezer was challenged in court by a man claiming to be his former driver, who alleged several followers were not releasing the body as they were seeking a share of the guru's properties, local media reports said.
But the court rejected the man's petition after receiving information from authorities confirming his death, reportedly from a heart attack, said Reeta Kohli, additional advocate general of Punjab state.
Maharaj's website, which says the mission was founded in 1983.