Jain saints, protesting against the Rajasthan high court’s verdict banning Santhara, a centuries-old ritual of voluntary fasting to death, claimed in Bhopal on Monday that the Sensex crashed by 1,624.51 points due to the nation-wide protest by the community.
“When just one-day bandh (by the Jain community) can bring down Sensex to such an extent, the government should think what will happen to (the) Indian economy if we call two-three days bandh against (the) ban on our centuries-old ritual,” said Jain saint Ajeet Sagar. He was addressing a gathering at Iqbal Maidan in Bhopal.
Addressing the gathering, Jain saint Vivek Sagar, also threatened to overthrow the government if it failed to protect their religious rights. “Jains believe in non-violence, but we are not cowards…If the government doesn’t come forward to save the religion, culture and tradition of India, (the) government can also be changed,” he said.
Bhopal MP Alok Sanjar, finance minister Jayant Malaiya’s wife BJP leader Sudha Malaiya, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Kantilal Chatar, BJP state vice-president Vijesh Lunawat have extended their support to the Jains and also took part in the rally on Monday.
Sudha Malaiya and Kantilal Chatar also questioned the religious practices of animal sacrifice. “Even after 67 years of freedom, we (have) failed to stop animal killing, but questions are being raised against Santhara…Before stopping people from observing Santhara, there is a need to stop suicide of farmers,” Malaiya said.
Meanwhile, Jains have asked MP Sanjar to extend his support to their protest and raise the issue on the floor of parliament.
Hundreds of youngsters, children and women attended the protest. A section of businessmen and schools extended their support to the bandh call.
However, there was no impact of the bandh on educational institutions in general, petrol pumps, cinema halls and offices.