On June 2, a clash between police and a relatively unheard-of group that had encroached on land in Mathura's Jawahar Bag turned violent. The clash resulted in the deaths of 24 people, including two policemen. 

The people who had encroached on the land belonged to fringe groups called Swadheen Bharat Vidhik Satyagraha (SBVS) and Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena (SBSS), which are collectively being referred to as 'The Netaji Cult' or 'the Mathura Cult'

Source: b'Fire in Jawahar Park after clahses on Thursday | Image Scource: ScoopWhoop'

The cult is now the centre of attention, but despite numerous reports, some basic facts still remain unclear. 

So Who Are They?

Source: Facebook/Swadhin Bharat-national movement

SBVS claims to follow the principles laid down by freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose. They claim that Bose didn't die in the plane crash in Taiwan in 1945. They also claim to be an offshoot of an organisation headed by the freedom fighter after he escaped the plane crash. 

Source: b'Image Source: Facebook'

What were they doing in Jawahar Bag?

The self-styled 'Satyagrahis', are led by sect leader Ram Vriksha Yadav. 

Yadav had come to Mathura in 2014 from Lakhimpur Kheri, a border district in UP, close to Nepal, for a 2-day protest in the Jawahar Bag park. The stay in Mathura was to be a short one, but after the event, the group refused to leave. 

By 2016, the number of 'Satyagrahis' living in the park had increased to almost 3,000, and they ran what they claimed was an independent republic in the park. They developed a mini settlement in which they grew their own vegetables, and didn't even allow the police inside. 

Group's Founder Believed To Be Subhash Chandra Bose

Ram Vriksha Yadav, the leader of the group in Mathura, was a 'disciple' of Jai Gurudev, also known as Tulsidas Maharaj.

Tulsidas Maharaj was a influential religious figure, believed by devotees to be Subhash Chandra Bose himself. It is believed that by the time of death, Baba had a vast, Rs 12,000 crore empire, 4,00 crores worth of land, political pull and and several luxury cars worth 150 crore.  He even floated a political party once called the Doordarshi Party.

A Breakaway Group From Godman Tulsidas Maharaj

Yadav allegedly fell out with the main religious group linked to Tulsidas Maharaj after losing an election after the Godman's death. He then split and formed his own faction of the Sena. 

They Had A "Military Training Camp"

Whether the Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena is the armed wing of the Satyghraha itself or is a closely related but distinct group, remains unclear. But members of the militant SBVS and the Satyagrahis are known locally as 'Naxalites'. The group allegedly provided military training to teenagers and children to join the armed wing of the organisation. 

Source: b'Representational Image | Children playing with toy guns in Yemen| Image Source: Reuters'

They Were Demanding An 'Azad Hind Government'

Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena Or Bhartiya Subhash Sena is allegedly a registered political party since 2013, and the movement has been demanding the abolition of the post of the PM and President and the establishment of an Azad Hind government. 

They also want the declassification of all official and secret documents related to Bose.

They Had Some Pretty Bizarre Ideas About Money

Source: b'Image Source: Facebook'

The cult believes that the Rupee is the strongest currency in the world, and that Re.1 is equal in value to 972 mg gold. They wanted the Indian central bank, The Reserve Bank of India, to be dissolved since they believed that the Rupee is part of a British colonial legacy. They believe it should be replaced with the evidently Indian 'Azad Hind Bank' currency note. 

They also want Re. 1 to be able to buy 60 litres of diesel, and 40 litres of petrol. 

'The true followers of Subhash Chandra Bose'

Source: b'Subhash Chandra Bose, File Photo | Source: PTI'

One of their main claims is against the accepted idea of Bose's 'disappearance' in 1945. 

In 2006, a member of the cult had claimed that Bose, at age 109, was still alive, and that he had met him in the forests Sitapur district in Uttar Pradesh.

Yet other Sena members claim that Baba Jai Gurudev himself was Subhash Chandra Bose, as the God-man himself claimed at a rally in 1975.

They Ran A Parallel Government

Documents recovered from the park after the clash revealed that the Yadav ran a parallel government within the park enclosure. The cult had its own judicial courts, laws and judgements. They allegedly even had their own 'Constitution', and 'battalions' of armed soldiers. 

As more details come out about The Mathura Cult, we are all but forced to wonder how such an organized and heavily armed structure managed to flourish in Mathura, virtually unnoticed, under full public, political and police scrutiny.