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Jain Community Holds Massive Protests In Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad: All About Palitana Row And Sammed Shikarji Row

Sammed Shikarji in Jharkhand is important for both Digambara and Svetambara sects as 20 out of 24 Jain Tirthankaras along with monks attained moksha in the place. Likewise, Shetrunjaya Hills near Palitana city are home to 865 Jain temples and is a holy place for Shwetambara Jains.

Glimpses from Jain community's protests in New Delhi on Sunday
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Hundreds of members of the Jain community took out parallel rallies in Ahmedabad, Delhi, and Mumbai on Sunday, seeking action against anti-social elements allegedly desecrating the sacred Shetrunjaya Hills in Gujarat's Bhavnagar district as well as to oppose the Jharkhand government’s move to declare the Shri Sammed Shikharji in Giridih District as a tourist place..

Palitana Row: Illegal mining, liquor dens

Led by religious heads of the community, hundreds took part in the Ahmedabad rally and walked for 3 km, demanding action against illegal mining activities, liquor dens and encroachment of government land on the hills.

Situated on the banks of Shetrunji river around 164 feet above sea level, Shetrunjaya Hills near Palitana city are home to 865 Jain temples and is a holy place for Shwetambara Jains.

Members of the community have held more than 85 rallies in different parts of the state ever since the "charan paduka" of a Jain saint was vandalised at a temple on the hills on November 26 last year, the secretary of a Jain trust in Ahmedabad said.

The community also handed over a memorandum with a list of demands at the district collector’s office, he said. All the demands are related to illegal activities and the state government should not find it hard to tackle them, said Pranav Shah, secretary of Samagra Jain Swetambar Murtipujak Tapagachh Shree Mahasangh of Ahmedabad city.

The community is demanding action against illegal mining on the hills that is desecrating the sanctity of the region and has flagged the issue of illegal construction, he said. Hand carts and shops along the roads should also be removed and hooch dens that have cropped up in the area need to be shut, Shah said. "All illegal activities in the hills such as mining and land grabbing should be stopped and the hills should be mapped to remove illegal construction — these are our main demands," Shah told PTI.

"We have created a road map for the development of Palitana and nearby areas with the help of the administration. Jain communities from across India can work in this direction," he said.

As per a report on India Today, similar protests against the alleged desecration of Palitana temple were also organised in Mumbai and Bhopal.  "We are protesting against the vandalisation of the temple in Palitana & Jharkhand govt's decision. The Gujarat govt has taken action but we want strict action against them (who vandalised the temple). Today more than 5 lakh people are on the streets," Maharashtra Minister MP Lodha was quoted as saying. 

Shri Sammed Shikarji Row: Religious Tourism

Members of the community also held massive protests in the national capital on January 1 against both the vandalism of the shrine in Gujarat as well as the Jharkhand government's bid to use Shri Sammed Shikarji to promote religious tourism in the state. 

In fact, on Sunday, a delegation from the Jain community even handed over a letter to President Droupadi Murmu in New Delhi, expressing discontent over the two incidents. The community had congregated at the Pragati Maidan where it staged a mega protest before marching towards the Presidential palace, India Today reported.

Sunday's protests mirror similar demonstrations by the community since last week.

Also Read | Explained: Why The Jain Community Is Protesting Against Jharkhand Government Over Shri Sammed Shikharji

Shikarji, the holy place located on Parasnath Hills, which is the highest mountain in Jharkhand state, is important for both Digambara and Svetambara sects as 20 out of 24 Jain Tirthankaras along with monks attained moksha in the place.

Protests have been observed across Mysuru, Karnataka and Jharkhand and a letter campaign is planned to be launched, written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi where the community would urge the top leader to not convert the place into a tourism spot.

(With inputs from PTI)

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