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Jains seek Punjab government apology for ad

The advertisement, which appeared in all leading English and vernacular dailies in the state, infuriated members of the Jain community who accused the state government of hurting their religious sentiments.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2019 01:18 IST
Navi Mumbai, India - April 17, 2019:Jain community celebrates Mahavir Jayanti with procession from Jain Mandir to Sector-14 Vashi during Mahavir Jayanti at Vashi in Navi Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (Photo by Bachchan Kumar/ Hindustan Times)(Hindustan Times)

In a faux pas, the Punjab government put an image of Gautam Buddha instead of Lord Mahavir in an advertisement published in newspapers on Wednesday to greet people on Mahavir Jayanti.

The advertisement, which appeared in all leading English and vernacular dailies in the state, infuriated members of the Jain community who accused the state government of hurting their religious sentiments.

They demanded an apology and another advertisement with the correct photo. The state government had issued the advertisement to greet people on the birth anniversary of 24th Jain Tirthankara, an apostle of truth, non-violence and righteousness.

Mahavir Sewa Sansthan president Rakesh Jain expressed shock over the mistake. “We do not have anything against Gautam Buddha, but the picture is inappropriate,” he said, adding, “The advertisement has been a regular feature since 2007. It was I who requested the then Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP government to issue the advertisement every year, but there has never been such a grave error”.

A meeting of members of the Jain community was held at Guru Nanak Bhawan in Ludhiana to discuss the issue. Vishwa Jain Sangthan state coordinator Dr Sandeep K Jain also shot off a letter to chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh, on the issue.

When contacted, information and public relations secretary Gurkirat Kirpal Singh said he was not aware of the ad. Director, public relations, Anindita Mitra did not respond to calls and SMSes to her. Other officials also refused to comment.

First Published: Apr 18, 2019 01:18 IST

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