press club of india, Indian Tehalka News
Thousands of members of the Jain community hit the streets here on Monday in protest against a recent judgment of the Rajasthan High Court declaring the practice of Santhara — voluntary fasting unto death — illegal and an offence punishable under the Indian Penal Code.
The ripples of the order delivered earlier this month were bound to be felt in Kolkata, which has a significant Jain population running to a couple of lakhs.
“We organised a silent procession. Our objective was to point out that the order is contrary to the spirit of Santhara, which has been a prevalent practice in our religion,” Kamal Dugar, president of the All India Terapanthi Mahasabha told The Hindu.
Members of the community met West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and submitted a memorandum urging him to look into the issue. Though the community has decided to take recourse to legal remedies, the procession held in Kolkata was part of the community’s efforts to generate awareness, Shantilal Jain, a member of the community said.
“I am in Delhi for the past few days consulting lawyers on how to proceed with the legal options. However, I have learnt that the procession in Kolkata was a huge success,” Mr. Jain said.
During the procession, the members held up placards explaining what the practice of Santhara is and how it is cannot be considered “suicide.”
The Rajasthan High Court in its order had said that Santhara will be punishable under Section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) and Section 306 (abetment of suicide) of IPC. This has evoked criticism in certain quarters and sociologists and lawyers have commented that the order had not adequately looked into the reasoning behind the age-old practice.
A PTI report said thousands of Jains took out a ‘silent march’ in Jaipur and other places in Rajasthan on Monday. The protest march began from Ramlila ground-New Gate and culminated at Mahaveer school in the form of a gathering where religious leaders expressed their displeasure over the High Court ruling.
“Our peaceful protest is against the judgment pronounced by the High Court,” convener of the Joint Action Committee of Digambar and Shwetambar Jains Rajendra Godha said.
Members of both Shwetambar and Digambar sects participated in the march.
From: The Hindu