Mumbai: Jains Protest Vandalism Of Tirthankara Idols At Gujarat's Pavagadh

Mumbai: Jains Protest Vandalism Of Tirthankara Idols At Gujarat's Pavagadh

The site has the ruins of a 14th-century capital of a Hindu kingdom and the 15th-century capital of a pre-Mughal Islamic sultanate.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Tuesday, June 18, 2024, 11:05 PM IST
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Mumbai: Jains Protest Vandalism Of Tirthankara Idols At Gujarat's Pavagadh | FPJ

Jains gathered at Navjivan Society in Mumbai Central on Tuesday to protest against the destruction of idols of Jain Tirthankaras near the Kalika Mata temple in the UNESCO-listed Champaner-Pavagadh Archeological Park in Gujarat's Panchmahal district on June 16.

On Monday, Gujarat's Minister of State for Home, Harsh Sanghvi, promised to restore the idols, but Jains said they were outraged by the destruction of the four-century-old idols of Jain teachers. The culprits are yet to be identified, however Jain groups suspect that the temple authorities are responsible.

The Mahakali temple trust, which manages the shrine, has denied the allegations. The trust said that the idols could have been displaced when a shed on the staircase was removed.

In Gujarat, the incident has led to protests by the Jain community. In Mumbai, community members have asked for the registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against the culprits, their arrest, and the restoration of the Jin Pratimas or idols. The Tirthankaras are a line of teachers from the Jain religion.

The idols had lined the dadra or steps leading to the 10th-century temple of Mahakali or Kalika Mata., a Shakti Peethas devoted to the worship of the Mother Goddess. The temple trust removed the idols during the renovation of the path. However, Jains said that six to seven idols and other sculptures were vandalised during the process.

"How can the Gujarat Govt allow goons to vandalise idols of Jain Tirthankaras? This is not the first attack on the Jain community or its worship places in Gujarat, but the Prime Minister, Home Minister, and Chief Minister are all remaining silent and allowing such acts to take place," said Dhanpal Solanki Jain, an advocate.Vinamra Sagar Maharaj, a Jain monk who attended the meeting at Navjivan Society, said that the destroyed religious site should be rebuilt with government protection.

"We are a minority and our rights under the Constitution should be protected. If our temples are not safe now, when will they be safe?" asked Sagar. 

On Tuesday, Sanghvi said that restoration of the idols has begun. He said he had asked the Panchmahal District Superintendent of Police to investigate the incident.The Pavagadh-Champaner Archeological Park covers 13.28 square km with an additional 29.11 square km of buffer area.

The site has the ruins of a 14th-century capital of a Hindu kingdom and the 15th-century capital of a pre-Mughal Islamic sultanate. The Kalika Mata temple which is located at the summit of the Pavagadh hill is one of 51 Shakti Peeths in South Asia. It is believed that the Jains built the shrine and handed it over to Hindus.

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