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Digambar Jain Samaj Current News 2014 (English)

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   Conservation work at a Jain Temple in Sultanbathery

THRISSUR (KERALA), October 20, 2014: Archaeological Survey of India Circle office condemned the "false" reports in a section of the press on resumption ofconservation work at a Jain Temple in Sultanbathery in Wayanad District on October 16.

"Some people with the support of the media, are making a hue and cry that ASI is damaging the temple by spending a huge amount of Rs 1.5 crore which is far from the truth", T Sreelakshmi , Superintending Archaeologist, said in a statement here. It created a tense situation in and around the temple, she added.

Sreelakshmi clarified that the estimate for the work was about Rs 16 lakh which included water tightening of the leaking roof and providing ramp for the physically challenged.

Reports appearing yesterday in a section of the press had stated that ASI had broken the roof of the Jain Temple, popularly known as Kianganad Basti,for repairs and maintenance following a minor leak on the roof, on October 16.

The reports said a portion of the temple, believed to have been built in the 14th Century, was broken to make way for entry of heavy machinery. Following strong protest by the public, Sultanbathery Tahasildar, N K Abraham stayed the work on the temple.

It was better for the media to confirm the factual position of the matter before publishing such reports as they have created "confusion" and "doubts" in the minds of the general public, she added.

ASI adopts its own scientific conservation methods and such "false" reports questions its credibility, Sreelakhsmi said. Source: The Times of India

9th Century Jain Temple Used as Cattle Stall

  BELLARY, September 6, 2014: A 9th century historic Jain temple located in Kogali village of
Hagaribommanahalli taluk has turned into a ‘cattle stall’ and a storage room. The temple is in a state of utter neglect. Once considered a Jain centre during the Ganga dynasty, the 1,200-year-old temple is now in ruins.

Expressing concern over the sorry state of the temple, local resident Rajalingappa P, a teacher, said the villagers have little knowledge about its history. He urged the authorities to initiate steps to protect the place. This historic temple is also used by local carpenters to make furniture, especially because the space is available free of cost.

An elderly person, who is well versed with the temple history, said it is the second most sacred religious place for Jains after the 1,000 pillar temple in Moodbidri. But sadly, outsiders know nothing about the importance of the place, he added.

This temple also had 1,000 pillars once but now barely 40 pillars remain. Most of the pillars were destroyed by miscreants, he added. DC Sameer Shukla told Express that he would take steps to preserve places that have a historical importance. Source: The New Indian Express 

 14 Jain rock beds found atop hill near Vellore

CHENNAI, July 22, 2014: Fourteen Jain rock beds dating back to the 5th century AD have been excavated inside three caverns on top of a hill in Vellore district.

The beds were found on the Bhairavamalai in Latheri on the Vellore-Gudiyattam road when Jeeva Kumar, a Jain priest, was on a study tour in search of abandoned and neglected Jain sites in Tamil Nadu. "It was difficult to climb the hill because the rock steps to the caverns were almost lost over the years. Recently, the locals have built a temple near the caverns. They have also built a flight of 1300 steps for the new temple. Unfortunately, there is no passage to these caverns that house the ancient rock beds," says S Jeeva Kumar, who has excavated a number of Jain sites in various parts of Tamil Nadu.

The hill is situated in a small village called Kukkara Palli and scholars say the word 'palli' has a strong association with Jainism.  "The hill must have been a centre of Jainism in the 5th and 6th century. The ascetics used to call their education centre as 'palli'. As the name shows, the village has strong connections with Jainism," says K Ajithadoss, a Jain scholar.

Out of the two small caverns, one houses four rock beds while the other has only one rock bed. The big cavern, however, houses nine beds. A natural spring is found very near the two small caverns. 

Even though there are a number of Jain sites excavated by heritage enthusiasts and scholars in the state, they are not being taken seriously either by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) or the state-owned department of archaeology. Source: The Times of India

   Palitana gets first long-distance train in Railway Budget 2014

   RAJKOT, July 15, 2014: Jain community members wanting to go to Palitana from Mumbai have something to cheer in the Railway Budget. Railways minister Sadanand Gowda has announced Mumbai-Palitana weekly express train in the Budget for 2014-15 on Tuesday. The demand for a direct train to Palitana from Mumbai had been hanging fire since a long time. 

Presently, there is just one train running between Bhavnagar and Palitana. This is the first long distance train to the temple town. Every year, Palitana receives around 10 lakh tourists, mostly from Jain community, and large numbers from Mumbai.

Besides connecting with Palitana, Saurashtra region has got two more express trains, Rajkot-Rewa Express via Jabalpur and Hapa-Bilaspur Express via Nagpur. All the three express trains will run once a week.

A senior railway official from Rajkot division said they had run special weekly trains of Rajkot-Raipur and Hapa-Bilaspur as holiday specials last year. "The response to the holiday special trains was overwhelming," he said.  Source: The Times of India

  Restoration of Jain temples in Lahore and Gujranwala

 LAHORE, May 24, 2014: The Lahore High Court issued notices to respondent functionaries of the federal and provincial governments to submit replies on a petition for restoration of Jain temples in Lahore and Gujranwala and issuance of postage stamps to honour Bhagat Singh.

  Justice Mansoor Ali Shah of the LHC also directed the Punjab chief secretary to hear petitioner Barrister Jawaid Iqbal Jafree’s contentions on May 26 on these issues and issue a speaking order within one month. The court adjourned the hearing until June 26. Jafree named Punjab chief secretary, federal cabinet secretary, ministry of religion affairs secretary and Pakistan Post director general respondents in his petition.

  He said the Supreme Court of Pakistan had repeatedly observed that religious minorities’ rights could not be violated. He said Islam gave the world concepts of due process of law and equal protection of law for one and all without discrimination.

  He said in Gujranwala butchers had opened shops in a Jain temple, which was part of the architectural and cultural heritage of Pakistan, besides being the worship place of a religious minority. He said this heritage was being dismantled, distorted and maligned . The lawyer said that he had sent thousands of complaints to various authorities in this respect since 1985 but no action had been taken.

  He said that Jains were peace-loving, non-violent and hardworking people. The petitioner said the Jain temple in Old Anarkali had been grossly violated and politically sponsored land mafia had opened shops there. Jain temples in other parts of Pakistan were also being desecrated and violated, the lawyer stated. Churches, pagodas, and other places of worships for non-Muslims had been encroached upon and desecrated which was shameful and a violation of constitutional guarantees, he added.

  He requested the court to direct the respondents to protect the Jain temples and other places of worship and restore the Jain Mandir in Anarkali. He also requested the court to order that encroachers are expelled from the Jain temple in Gujranwala.

  He said Jains and Hindus should be allowed to visit their temples and perform their rituals. He also prayed that one Jain pandit should be allowed to reside in every province to look after the temples. Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd , 2014

 New Jinalaya in Vashi to have 1,075 idols of the 24 Tirthankaras

  NAVI MUMBAI, May 9, 2014: Thousands of devotees, belonging to Jain community from different parts of the country, thronged at a Vashi ground in sector 10 to witness the foundation laying ceremony of Sahasrakut Jinalaya. The ceremony, known as Pancha Kalyan Mahotsav, established a Jinalaya, which will house 1,075 metal idols in various sizes of the 24 Tirthankaras.

  The consecration ceremony of the idols started on Thursday and the final installation ceremony will be held on Monday. "We had to organize the five-day programme at Sainath Hindi High School ground to accommodate thousands of outstation devotees. The idols will be transported to the main Digamber temple on the final day," said B K Jain, a trustee.

  At the top of the temple, which is 27-ft-high, 1,000 miniature idols have already been placed. Apart from these 1,000, the high priests will place 24 marble idols, each 2-ft-long, in the middle level of the temple. There are two five-feet-high idols that had been placed in the middle level years ago.

  The Jain community is eagerly anticipating the establishment of these new idols in the temple, which is almost 17 years old. Another 51 miniature idols, which are 3 inches tall, have been placed across the temple at various levels. Source: Times of India

 Thieves strike Jain temple, decamp with precious idols

  UJJAIN, April 27, 2014: Thieves targeted Jain temple at Laxminagar in Ujjain and decamped with idols and valuables worth lakhs on Sunday night.

  According to police sources, CCTV grab revealed that a motorbike and a car were used to execute the crime. Two masked miscreants entered the temple pretending to be devotees and took away five ashtadhatu (eight types of metal) idols and silverware.

  Raising security concern, a number of people gathered on Monday morning, and questioned poor police patrolling, particularly three days ahead of general elections in the region.

  SP Anurag, who had to face the wrath of people, assured that culprits would be nabbed soon. Lapses on part of the temple management has been exposed as no security men were deployed at the temple. Source: The Times of India 

  Thieves strike Jain temple again; idols, money stolen

  INDORE, April 17, 2014: Jain temple located in Sangam Nagar area was targeted by thieves for the third time in recent times on Thursday late night. Miscreants decamped with precious idols, five jewel crowns and money from donation box total worth in lakhs. As per CCTV footage, four masked miscreants had remained inside the temple for two hours. Cops said that they were all professional thieves as they wiped finger prints from doors and the places they touched.

Earlier, angry residents living in vicinity did not allow the police to enter temple premises when they came to know about burglary. However, after senior officers of police reached on spot and sought cooperation, the police teams were allowed to do investigations. Forensic experts and dog squad were called for taking finger prints and collect other evidences connecting to the burglary. Banganga police station staff are studying the CCTV footages to get more clues in the incident.
 Source: The Times of India

Tirthankara antique idol goes missing from Vellore

CHENNAI, April 6, 2014: Idol wing police have launched a hunt for a stone idol of Lord Mahavira alias Vardhamana that went missing from Virinchi Puram near Vellore. Police said the stone idol belonged to the period before 8th century AD.

Police said the antique idol was lying unguarded along the road near a temple in Virinchi Puram and it went missing in 2008.  Though an official of the Hindu religious and charitable endowment (HR&CE) department lodged a formal complaint in 2008, the local police didn't take the complaint seriously. But idol wing CID officials are following up on the complaint now, after some nudging from by R Karthikeyan, HR&CE executive officer.

Idol wing CID officials believe that smugglers must have quietly removed the artefact and shipped it abroad. "We are trying to trace the idol to some museum in a foreign country. We are also suspecting the handiwork of international idol smuggler Subhash Kapoor," an official said. 

Idol wing officials said R Kannan, additional secretary for tourism, culture and religions endowments, has discussed the Tirthankara stone idol in his book. Kannan wrote 'Jain images in the districts of Tamil Nadu' when he was the commissioner of Chennai museum in 2002. TNN

Maoists lock up Jain temple atop Parasnath

Giridih, March 30, 2014: A Maoists’ group has reportedly locked up a Jain temple atop Parasnath hill, about 75 kilometres from Giridih in Jharkhand, and warned the trustees of dire consequences if they continued hill cutting to expand the temple complex.
Maoists sealed Choprakund temple, which is the transit point for the Jain pilgrims of Digambar sect. The group has posted red flags and banners in the complex.
The Parasnath hill is the place where Mahavira attained enlightenment and is considered very sacred by the community.
Giridih superintendent of police Kranti Kumar Gadidesi, said, “Yes, I am well aware about the situation and the authorities concerned have already been directed to act in accordance with the situation”.
“The Maoists have sealed the ‘Chaprakund temple’, basically used by the Digambar sect of the Jain pilgrims as a transit point at the hill top. They have also put up red banners and posters warning the trustees to stop their anti -people or the anti -natural activities on the hill top. The Maoists have also mentioned the name of one of the Jain trustees and have written few poll boycott slogans”, a shrine board staff said on condition of anonymity.
Police and forest officials said that a legal battle was going in the Supreme Court between the forest department and the Jain shrine board regarding the Chaprakund temple, which is situated about 8 km from the foothills.
Since the area falls in the jurisdiction of the forest department, the government is making efforts to acquire the land from the possession of the Jains. Source: Hindustan Times
Every problem has its solution: Seer Pragyasagar

 Ujjain . March 24, 2014: There are many kinds of problems and every problem has its solution within. Where there is poison there is elixir as well. Solution to the life lies in struggle. The hand is a sign of blessings where it is also used for fear to slap at someone.

These views were expressed by Mahavir Tapo Bhumi founder Seer Pragyasagar during a religious meeting organised at Shantinath Digambar Jain temple located at Lakshmi Nagar here on Thursday.

Walking to Shantinath Digambar Jain temple Lakshmi Nagar from Rishi Nagar Digambar Jain temple, Seer Pragyasagar was accorded welcome. A portrait of Seer Pushpadant Sagar was also unveiled by Samajik Sansad president Ashok Jain and Shikhar Chandra Luhadia.

  Century-old idols stolen from Jain temple in Hubli
 HUBLI, March 15, 2014: Two century-old panchaloha idols of Parshwanath were stolen from a Jain temple in Hubli on Sunday morning, sending shockwaves among the community.
 What has surprised them is the Bhagawan Sri 1008 Chandraprabha Teerthankar Digambar Jain temple is located on the premises of a Jain boarding school which houses hundreds of students.
 Temple security guard Bhimappa Chinnappa Dharwad told TOI: "I woke up around 6am and opened the main door of the temple. Two devotees came in and sat inside for prayers. The door of the inner sanctum was locked and can be opened only by priests. After cleaning the temple, I went for a bath. When I returned, I was shocked to see the door of the inner sanctum broken and the two devotees had left. I alerted the manager immediately."
 B N Nagarhalli, manager, Jain boarding, said: "Two Parshwanath idols, nearly 100 years old, are missing from the temple. Each costs around Rs 50,000. The thieves may have thought they contain gold since they are made of panchaloha.  
 Subhash C Gudimani, DCP (law and & order), suspects the miscreants who entered the temple posing as devotees may have stolen these idols. "Both weigh around 2.5kg each. We haven't estimated their exact value," he said.
This is the first time idols have been stolen from a Jain temple in Hubli. In twin-city Dharwad, miscreants stole Jwalamanlini and Parshwanath idols from a temple in Kotabagi village. Source: The Times of India

 Palitana's Shetrunjay Hill will soon be a plastic-free zone

   Rajkot, February 24, 2014: Anandji Kalyanji Trust that manages the Jain temples in Palitana said the trust functionaries have already started the process of making the religious destination free of plastic menace. The project is to be implemented in a phased manner.

Sources said over 400 volunteers came to Palitana from Mumbai last month and collected plastic from all over Shetrunjay Hill, where a large numbers of Jain temples are located. They picked up plastic pouches, water bottles, wafer packets among other plastic waste.

"We were shocked to find that the waste collected by volunteers amounted to over 900 bags each containing about 15kg of plastic. So we decided to prevent carriage of plastic material atop the hill to reduce the plastic menace," a representative of the trust said.
"We have also written to Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board of the government to issue a notification in this regard and ban plastics at this religious place," one of the trustees said. Devotees are asked to dump plastic before they start climbing the hill for prayers.

"Every Saturday and Sunday, our volunteers stay at the entrance of the hill at Samvasharan Derasar and request devotees not to carry any plastic material. Our volunteers give them jute bags free of cost to dump platics," a trustee said.

On an average over 10 lakh people visits the Jain temples every year in Palitana. Besides being a religious place, Shetrunjay Hill is close to the forest where Asiatic Lion has its abode. There are about 15 lions are in Palitana area in Bhavnagar. Source: The Times of India

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