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Pavagadh: Restoration of idols of Jain Tirthankaras underway, FIR filed after govt takes cognisance of damage in the name of renovation project

This comes a day after Sanghvi promised to reinstall the idols in their original locations. “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", he told.

On Tuesday, 18th June, the restoration work of the Jain Tirthankara idols at Pavagadh in Gujarat began, the video of which was shared by Gujarat minister Harsh Sanghvi. “The work of reinstalling the idols has started. The investigation of this entire matter has been given to Panchmahal DSP,” he posted on X.

This comes a day after Sanghvi promised to reinstall the idols in their original locations. “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 was quoted as saying on 17th June

He said that he discussed the issue with the authorities in the state saying that the faith of thousands of people in society had been hurt. Later the government instructed the collector that as per the rules, there could be no permission to remove the idols that had been installed there for years. “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,” Sanghvi said.

On Monday, June 17th several Jain community leaders also protested against the incident and marched to the Collector’s office in Surat. Leaders of the Jain community petitioned collectors in all cities, including Surat and Vadodara. They raised slogans and demanded the restoration of Jain Tirthankara idols in Pavagadh.

Notably, in another update on the issue, Sanghvi also stated that an FIR had been filed for disrespecting the idols of Bhagwan Neminath ji in Pavagarh.

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 had undertaken renovation of the site to provide better facilities to the pilgrims. The trust is said to have removed the idols from their original place and broken them meanwhile. 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 idols on the old road leading to Pavagadh Nij Mandir. The only demand of the Jain society was that legal action should be taken against the elements who committed such a sin.

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. Jain Prem Vijayji Maharaj of Jain Samaj filed a petition, stating, “We oppose the Pavagarh incident.” The Jain community then made two demands to 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 the restoration of the idols of Jain Tirthankaras at Pavagadh is underway.

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