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‘Idols will be restored where they were’: Gujarat Minister Harsh Sanghvi assures restoration of demolished ancient idols of Jain Tirthankaras in Pavagadh

Harsh Sanghvi, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Gujarat, assured the Jain community that the ancient idols of Jain Tirthankaras vandalised in Pavagadh will be restored.

Protests have broken out across the country in response to the shattering of Jain Tirthankara idols in Pavagadh. The Jain community’s leaders have been protesting since the 16th of June night. Around 2500 Jain Samaj members marched to the Collector’s office in Surat and raised slogans on Sunday causing the Collector’s office to be operational at night. Leaders of the Jain community petitioned collectors in all cities, including Surat and Vadodara. They also presented to Harsh Sanghvi, Minister of State for Home Affairs. He has promised to reinstall the idols in their original locations.

Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghvi’s statement regarding the demolition of idols of Jain Tirthankaras in Pavagadh was released on 17th June. “Pavagadh is a historic land. Many Jain teerthankars’ statues had been established on the mountains of Pavagadh…No trust, organization or individual has the right to demolish such historic statues and religious places. Gujarat CM has ensured that the sentiments of Jains must not be hurt. These statues must be re-established at their original positions…In some hours, the statues will be re-established,” he said.

He further said, “The trust has taken applications from whoever has vandalized these statues. After discussion with the Chief Minister, the government has instructed the collector that as per the rules, there can be no permission to remove the idols that were installed there for years. Those idols should be re-installed where they were, which was near the staircase. The faith of thousands of people in society has been hurt somewhere. The Collector, SP, Jain Samaj, and other trusts have been instructed to immediately conclude the meeting and start the work of installing those statues immediately.”

The leader of the Jain community as well as the trustee of the temple trust have also issued statements in the given case.

What is the controversy?

The controversy started on Sunday (June 16th). On Sunday, the Pavagadh Temple Trust demolished the statues of thousands of years old Jain Tirthankaras on both sides of Dadra, leading up to the Shaktipeeth Mahakali Mata temple on the Pavagadh mountain. The temple trust was developing to provide better facilities to the pilgrims. The trust is said to have removed the idols from their original place and broken them. This enraged the Jain community leaders, who from different parts of the state, including Vadodara and Surat, reached Pavagadh in large numbers. A controversy erupted over the removal of prestigious mythological idols on the old road leading to Pavagadh Nij Mandir. The only demand of the Jain society is that legal action should be taken against the elements who commit such acts.

The Jain community was outraged when it learned that idols had been damaged in Pavagadh. In this case, Jain community members gathered to protest in large numbers at the Surat Collector’s office late at night. In this case, Jain Prem Vijayji Maharaj of Jain Samaj filed a petition, stating, “We oppose the Pavagarh incident.” The Jain community has made two demands of the government: that the perpetrators of the Pavagadh tragedy be severely punished, and that the site of the atrocity in Derasar be repaired and given back to the Jain community.

Jain leaders have said, “It is good that the temple of Mahakali Mata is being developed but thousands of years old Shwetambar Jain idols in Pavagadh have been destroyed. This incident has caused severe repercussions in the Jain community.” Another Jain leader threatened to approach the High Court in this matter. But now the government has intervened and ordered the restoration of the idols of Jain Tirthankaras at Pavagadh.

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OpIndia Staff
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