Members of the Jain community today took out a silent procession in Ranchi to protest against declaring Sammed Sikharji in Jharkhand, as a tourist destination.
Jains belonging to both Digambara( meaning sky clad) and the Swetambar( meaning white-clad)participated in this procession.
The site is considered holy by the Jains and is a major centre for pilgrimage.
Their silent procession started from Jain Mandir in Upper Bazar and covered around four kilometres of road between the Shahid Chowk, the city centre, Albert Ekka Chowk and Kutchery Chowk, it concluded at Zakir Hussain park.
Next, a team of Jain leaders met Governor Ramesh Bais and submitted a memorandum carrying their demands.
Their main demands were: to prohibit drinking and consuming non-vegetarian food at Shikharji, also known as Sammed Shikharjee, located on Parasnath hill, the highest mountain in Jharkhand.
Sammed Shikharjee is the auspicious place for Jains where twenty of twenty- four Jain Trithsnkaras along with many monks had attained Moksha.
In view of this, they were dead against the state government tourism department notification to declare this religious site as a tourist destination. Since consumption of liquor and meat was prohibited, these Jains believe that once tourists start coming, hotels and resorts will be functional and thereby many of them will “ make the religious site impure by use of liquor and consumption of meat and fish.
This is why they have been protesting across the country demanding the withdrawal of the state tourism department’s decision. They argued that ever since this decision was made public, the number of meat and liquor-consuming tourists visiting Sammed Shikharjee has been increasing.
“They are polluting and dirtying the sacred site of ours”, states the memorandum submitted to Governor Bais.
The silent procession of Jains were led among others by Padam Kumar Chatra, Pradeep Bakliwal, and Subhash Vinaykya. Pankaj Munar Padya,Pramod Kumar Jhanjiri, Sunil Kumar Sethi.