For over two years, 3,000-odd “satyagrahis” camped at Jawahar Bagh, holding off the outside world. On Sunday afternoon, when the gates of the government-owned land were thrown open, some clues into the inner workings of the cult that has stunned a state government and shaken its police force lay in a half-burnt book.
Its 10-12 pages that The Indian Express could access cover May to July 2014, and document in detail where the Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena got its money from, including places as far as Gujarat and Odisha, and on what it was spent. The entries are an indication of how the settlement ran its operations till last week.
A large part of its expenditure comprised fees of a “Vakeel Dilliwale (Delhi lawyer)”, as cases were slapped against the Sena by the local police. In just over a week in 2014, the book says, the organisation paid Rs 84,000, Rs 25,000, Rs 7,000 and Rs 4,000 to the lawyer, apart from spending Rs 5,000 to rent a car to travel to Delhi to meet him.
Renting cars constituted the other major part of the organisation’s expenses.
In the first five months of coming to Jawahar Bagh, an entry for May 5, 2014, shows, the settlement had incurred an expenditure of over Rs 32 lakh. In the course of a week around that time, the settlement spent around Rs 1 lakh. While Rs 22,550 was spent on renovating the tents housing the “satyagrahis”, as per the book, Rs 36,000 was spent on providing water to the settlement.
“Vakeel Dilliwale” cost the Sena Rs 25,000 as fees in this time, records the book, while Rs 6,500 was paid as “warrant amount” to court.
Plus, money was spent on diesel to run generators.
By July 18, 2014, the settlement’s total expenditure stood at over Rs 47 lakh, as per the book, including over Rs 75,000 spent on hiring vehicles for travelling to Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Kanpur and Delhi.
There is an entry for Rs 1,500, paid to a “Bihar ka doctor” for some medicine.
Later, Rs 10,000 appears to have been paid to the Delhi lawyer.
The book records that the Subhash Sena used power-saving CFL bulbs and generators for power back-up. The diesel for the generators, the book says, was procured by “Srikanth”.
Detailing where the cult got the money, the book says funds came from Bareilly, Kannauj, Surat and Cuttack. The organisation apparently received Rs 2,24,460 from “seva” in Cuttack, while Ratan Singh and Kandawati Gupta of Bareilly are recorded to have donated Rs 10,000 each.
On Sunday, the 270-acre Jawahar Bagh lay covered in ash and a strong smell of burning, indicating the destruction wrought here three days ago.
Over a dozen vehicles, including cars, mini-trucks and vans, lay charred. Also completely burnt was a mound of wheat, next to a milling centre from where flour was supplied to a central kitchen for consumption.
Lying next to it were a few sewing machines, which police said were all that remained of a community centre operated by women.
The common kitchen and canteen where most of the deaths are believed to have happened, due to cylinder explosions, seemed ripped apart. Inside the common kitchen, more than 20 cylinders lay in a corner.
The contents of a “market” lay strewn, including empty oil tins, burnt bags of pulses and numerous packs of salt. A godown-like structure held around a hundred buckets, plates and spoons, pedestal fans and batteries.
Almost all the tents that the members lived in were also burnt, with their clothes lying scattered. At the school, burnt books lie piled.
Among the few concrete structures was the former office of the Horticulture Department at Jawahar Bagh that the self-declared leader of the Sena, Ram Vriksha Yadav, used as his residence. That also lay burnt, with newspapers strewn about.
Ironically, the only section of Jawahar Bagh that seemed untouched was the main stage, from where Yadav would give his daily sermons.
Of the Subhash Sena’s many members, the only ones who remained were its hapless cattle, who roamed hungry and thirsty, amidst bodies of at least two cows and two dogs.