Notably, the Jain community has been engaging in peaceful protests nationwide. It was against the decision to develop Shri Sammed Shikharji Tirth in Jharkhand as a significant tourist attraction. The Jharkhand government intended to encourage religious tourism at Parasnath Hills as part of the Tourism Policy in July 2022. The Jain community, however, feels that this choice would diminish the area’s spiritual significance. It will also pave the path for the pilgrim center’s commercialization. The Central government has now taken a big decision regarding the matter.
The Central Government Has Taken A Crucial Decision On The Sammed Shikharji Matter
The government made a significant decision about Sammed Shikhar, a holy Jain pilgrimage site in Parasnath, Jharkhand. The Center claims that it won’t be a tourist destination anymore. The Center has also responded to Jain’s objections to the classification of their main shrine as an ecotourism destination. The larger Parasnath hills sanctuary must stop all tourism and ecotourism activity, according to the Union Ministry of Environment guidelines. This information was put on Twitter by Bhupendra Yadav, the Union Environment Minister. On Thursday, the central government revoked an order that was made three years ago.
Met Jain community members who have been urging to protect the sanctity of Sammed Shikhar.
Assured them that PM Shri @narendramodi ji’s government is committed to preserving and protecting the rights of Jain community over all their religious sites, including Sammed Shikhar. pic.twitter.com/MrxiB616PE
— Bhupender Yadav (@byadavbjp) January 5, 2023
Additionally, on January 5, the Ministry of Environment released a two-page letter. The second page of the document states that the Eco-Sensitive Zone Notification’s provisions of Clause-3 shall have immediate suspension. The State Government must take all necessary actions right away to guarantee this. The Center has also ordered the state to take strict action against banned practices. It includes consuming alcohol, “defiling of sites of religious and cultural significance,” or ecological harm.
More About It
Leaders of the Jain community expressed their concerns about the potential harm to the location’s sanctity. Chief Minister Hemant Soren wrote the Centre earlier today to seek “appropriate decisions” regarding its 2019 notification. He claimed that creating a management board will help the state’s 2021 tourist strategy for managing the shrine more effectively. The board will also have the state’s secretary of tourism.
केंद्रीय वन मंत्री आदरणीय श्री @byadavbjp जी को पत्र लिख जैन अनुयायियों द्वारा प्राप्त आवेदनों के अनुसार पारसनाथ स्थित सम्मेद शिखर की सुचिता बनाये रखने हेतु पर्यावरण, वन एवं जलवायु परिवर्तन मंत्रालय, भारत सरकार की संबंधित अधिसूचना के संदर्भ में समुचित निर्णय लेने हेतु आग्रह किया। pic.twitter.com/xQenqjahjn
— Hemant Soren (@HemantSorenJMM) January 5, 2023
According to the letter, it will contain six non-government members who are from the Jain community. The note from the Centre also specified that the management board must have at least two Jain members. Earlier, the Union Environment Ministry also asked that the state recommend necessary modifications for further necessary action. At a press conference, the Union Minister of Tourism agrees that nothing will be happening to harm anyone’s religious feelings.
Importance Of The Shrine
The state’s highest peak is present in the Giridih district’s Parasnath Hills shrine, which is roughly 160 kilometers from Ranchi. For both the Digambar and Shwetambar sects, it is one of the holiest places for Jains. Furthermore, they say that 20 of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras have attained moksha in this area. Since a few days ago, the Jain community has been protesting the naming of Sammed Shikhar as a tourism area.
Many Jain sages have also started fasting oneself to death in protest of this. Jains make up a small minority in India, comprising about 1% of the total population. However, they have significantly impacted business and make up around 5% of Mumbai City, the financial capital.
People have immense faith in Sammed Shikharji. It is also a significant religious place for many Hindus. Jain community members observed protests on January 1, 2023, opposing the decision. Unfortunately, Jain Muni Sugyesagar Maharaj, who had fasted for more than ten days in protest, passed away on January 3.