UP: Case lodged, ABVP apologises after ruckus over Jain idol
Jain community leaders have demanded the immediate arrest of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists who, they alleged, entered the Digambar Jain College in Baghpat district’s Baraut town on Tuesday and threatened to remove an idol of Shrutdevi, the Jain goddess of knowledge.
The police did not register a case immediately against the activists although a complaint was lodged by college principal Virendra Singh the same day, they added.
On Thursday, Baghpat superintendent of police Abhishek Singh said that the case was registered against those named in the complaint by college principal Dr Virendra Singh and some unidentified activists under Sections 147, 504, 506 and 427 of the Indian Penal Code. He attributed the delay in registering the case to police engagement in dealing with the ongoing farmers’ protest in Baraut.
Apologising for the outfit’s action, ABVP’s Baghpat district coordinator Ankur Chaudhary said, “We tender our apology to the Digambar Jain community and what occurred was due to our ignorance. No protest would be held in the future regarding the idol of Goddess Shrutdevi.”
Earlier, Ajay Kumar Sharma, the station house officer of Baraut police station said the ABVP activists were confused over the idol of the Jain goddess. They thought the Jains had modified an image of the Hindu goddess Saraswati he added.He also claimed the matter was “sorted out”. “The matter has been sorted out in a meeting between both sides.”
Amit Rai Jain, a leader of Jain community, claimed that no meeting has happened between the two sides. He said the police were “spreading lies” because the matter concerned ABVP, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), ideological mentor of the rulng Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He said a meeting of the community’s elders in Baraut on Wednesday decided to demand the immediate arrest of the ABVP activists and safety of the Shrutdevi idol on the premises of Digambar Jain College as well as the safety of other Jain temples and statues in western Uttar Pradesh .
The community organised a march in the town and handed over a list of their demands to the college principal and management committee.
“Jain community is a minority and the incident has filled us with insecurity in the town and in other parts of western UP,” Amit Rai Jain, who was also a participant in the meeting, said.
A group of ABVP activists allegedly entered the college premises on Tuesday and locked classrooms and the principal’s office. They then went to the temple of the goddess Shrutdevi, which was installed on the college premises in 2016. The activists demanded that statue be shifted, saying they would remove it themselves if the college didn’t.
Amit Rai Jain said the incident had angered the Jain community in the entire region.