Mumbai: Shri Arihant Rishiji (Founder of Jayam Ideal Youth Organization (JIYO) along with the members of JIYO on Monday urged the Rajasthan High Court to reconsider its decision to ban the ancient Jain starvation ritual ‘Santhara’. The basic motive of the rally was to show the protest against the recent Rajasthan High court’s ruling against age old practice of Jain monks called “Santhara & Sallekhna”.
The rally was a “Silent March” comprising of around twenty thousand people (20,000) who expressed their disapproval towards the verdict of Rajasthan High Court. Men during the protest wore white clothes while women wore saffron cloths and wore a black band in protest of the high court’s ban on Santhara. The “Silent March” pleaded the Government to eradicate ill practices such as: – Animal Slather, Noise Pollution etc. They urged people, court & public to understand the true meaning of Santhara.
The century old practice of Santhara has been the eye of the storm since Rajasthan High Court recently gave an order banning the century’s old ritual. Six million Jain population across the country are irked the High Court ruling.
The ritual, also called Sallekhana, is the voluntary starvation to embrace death. The Shwetambar sect of the community, which practices the age-old ritual, considers it the ultimate way to attain moksh (salvation) when one’s life has served its purpose.
Addressing the gathering Shri Arihant Rishiji (Founder of Jayam Ideal Youth Organization (JIYO)) says “Santhara was/is never a suicide attempt by Jain-muni as it is meant to get moksh from existing life and punarjanam (rebirth) and it is a 2,500-year-old ritual since Bhagwan Mahaveer. We are certainly not against the courts, but we are against the judgement. We have every right to oppose it”.
“SANTHARA AARADHNA SE HOTA HAI” the crowd declared.
“We do respect the Rajasthan High Court’s verdict banning Santhara, but the decision was taken in absence of proper defense, evidences and justification by Jain Samaj, hence it should be reconsidered,” he added.
On 10 August, the high court had declared that the Jain starvation ritual is illegal, making it punishable under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 309 (attempt to commit suicide) and 306 (abatement of suicide).
The ritual was banned following a public interest litigation filed by human rights activist Nikhil Soni about a decade ago, claiming that the ritual is a social evil that should be considered a suicide.
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