The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Saturday extended support to the Jain community in its protest against the State government’s decision to declare Sammed Shikharji (Parshwanath Parwath) located in Giridih district in Jharkhand, as an eco-tourism spot. The organisation asked the government to desist from making a religious place into a ‘tourism spot’, and respect people’s sentiments.
The national president of the VHP Alok Kumar assured that the VHP would make meaningful efforts to take necessary action in this direction along with the representatives of the Jain community.
The VHP office-bearer said that the organisation was constantly making efforts for each State government and the Centre to form an independent pilgrimage Ministry, which would develop pilgrimage sites according to the faith and belief of the followers.
“We demand that the entire Siddha Kshetra Parshwanath mountain should be declared a holy area. There should not be any such activity which would hurt Jain beliefs. Meat and drug addiction cannot be allowed in any way within the limits of this pilgrimage area,” said the VHP in a statement.
The Jharkhand government recently decided to promote religious tourism at Parasnath Hills, the region revered as a Jain pilgrimage centre, where 20 of the 24 Tirthankars had attained salvation.
The leaders of the Jain community said that declaring the pilgrimage centre as a tourism spot would damage the very sanctity of Sammed Shikarji. The community is holding peaceful protests across Jharkhand, Karnataka and even in some parts of Madhya Pradesh, demanding the government to revoke its decision. A letter in this regard has been sent to the Prime Minister as well.