‘Jains protests for Sammed Shikhar got success’, can we say that?

The Modi-led central government on Thursday suspended all tourist activities on Parasnath Hill, where the Jain religious site ‘Sammed Shikharji’ is located, and ordered the Jharkhand government to immediately take all necessary measures to protect its sanctity.

The Union Environment Ministry sent an office memorandum to the state in this regard on the instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the sources said.

The development comes after Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav met representatives of the Jain community on the issue earlier in the day, reassuring them that the government is “committed to upholding the sanctity of ‘Sammed Shikharji Parvat Kshetra’, which is a holy place not only for the Jain community but for the entire country.”

Jains Sammed Shikhar

“The implementation of the provisions of Clause-3 of the Ecosensitive Zone Notification, which includes all other tourism and ecotourism activities, is immediately prohibited. The state government is directed to take all necessary steps immediately to ensure that,” the letter read.

Eco-sensitive area

Sammed Shikharji, located on Parasnath Hill in the Giridih district of Jharkhand, is the largest pilgrimage center for the Jain community. Community members have been protesting against the state government’s decision to promote religious tourism on Parasnath Hill.

In August 2019, the Union Ministry of Environment notified an eco-sensitive area around Parasnath Sanctuary and approved eco-tourism activities in compliance with the proposal submitted by the state government.

The ministry issued an office memo to the additional chief secretary of the Jharkhand government forestry department, saying that the “implementation of the provisions of clause 3 of the said eco-sensitive zone notification is immediately suspended, including but not limited to all activities of tourism and ecotourism.

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The state government is ordered to immediately take all necessary measures to ensure the same, he said. Meanwhile, representatives of different Jain groups held a press conference to thank Prime Minister Modi for the decision which they said will ensure the sanctity of his holiest pilgrimage site is upheld.

What is the whole matter?

On 23 July 2022, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren launched the New Jharkhand Tourism Policy. Its objective was to boost the tourism industry of the state after Covid. For this, a policy was prepared regarding cultural, religious, and mining tourism in the state.

The government wants to promote Parasnath Hills, Madhuban, and Itkhori as centers of religious tourism.

Many temples at Parasnath Hills are more than 2 thousand years old. 20 out of 24 Tirthankaras of Jainism attained salvation from here. This hill is named after the 23rd Tirthankar Parasnath.

The Parasnath Hills where the Sammed Shikhar is located is a part of the Parasnath Wildlife Sanctuary.

Following the order of the Supreme Court, eco-sensitive zones are being created within a 10 km radius of all wildlife sanctuaries.

Jains Sammed Shikhar

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