Members of Jain community on Monday welcomed the Union government's decision to grant them minority status and said it will help them preserve their religious identity, culture and heritage.
Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the community was on Monday accorded minority status by the central government which will enable them to avail of benefits in government schemes and programmes. The decision was taken at a meeting of Union Cabinet.
Lokesh Muni of Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti Acharya said Jains, who number around 50 lakhs, have made important contributions in societal and national development and the decision will encourage them to contribute more extensively in different social welfare activities.
Union minister Pradeep Jain Aditya and leaders of Jain community celebrated outside AICC headquarters. The government's decision came a day after a community delegation met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to accept their demand.
Community members also met minority affairs minister K Rahman Khan to express their gratitude, a statement said. Jains, who had minority status in 14 states, had been demanding similar status at national level.