Members of the Jain community held mass protests across the country on Sunday against the Jharkhand government’s decision to declare Sammed Shikharji a tourist destination, led by Hemant Soren. Located in the Parasnath Hills of Jharkhand, Sammed Shikharji is a sacred pilgrimage site for Jains. Delhi’s India Gate, which attracts tourists on January 1st, witnessed mass protests by the Jain community on Sunday.
Here’s everything you need to know about the protests.
- Controversy over Sammed Shikharji has been heating up for weeks after the Jharkhand government declared the pilgrimage site a tourist destination.
- The Jain community of Madhya Pradesh took to the streets protesting the previous decision. Former Madhya Pradesh Prime Minister Kamal Nath sent a letter to Prime Minister Modi and Jharkhand Prime Minister Hemant Soren urging them to reconsider their decision.
- It is believed that 20 out of 24 Tirthankars (Jain spiritual leaders) gained salvation from Sammed Shikharji.
- The Vishva Hindu Parishad issued a statement opposing the state government’s decision and said that the VHP was determined to protect the sanctity of all pilgrimage sites in India.
- The area should be declared a holy place and free from meat and drug-related tourism activities, VHP said in a statement.
- “A pilgrimage department should soon be established in Jharkhand, Siddha Kshetra Parshwanath mountain and all other pilgrimage sites there should be developed according to the faith of the followers. Necessary amendments should be made in the relevant notices. Thus, Siddha Parshwanath mountain and Tirtharaj Sammed peak can never be developed as a tourist area,” says the VHP statement.
- On December 16, 2022, a Jain temple in Gujarat was reported vandalized. Sunday’s nationwide protests were also against that vandalism. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi supported the protests and said the Jharkhand government should withdraw its decision.
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