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|Its the turn of the Jains now...'
By Jagjit Singh Jabewal
Criminal attacks on Muslims, Christians and Sikhs by Hindu fundamentalists have become common events. But the humiliation which Jains had to suffer at Badrinath town is a real surprise. A news regarding the criminal activities of Hindu fundamentalists appeared in the Hindustan Times daily of Delhi in its issue of 12 July 2000. Badrinath is a small town situated at the height of 10,000 feet above sea level. The famous Badrinath Temple, a pilgrimage centre, is located here. There are massive pillars of light yellow stone supporting a prayer hall. On 4 July local Hindus asked the Jains to destroy the pillars. The reason behind this act of vandalism is that Hindus could not fathom the idea of a Jain prayer hall in the holy city of Badrinath. Million of Jains long to visit and pray in the hall. The 78-years old Jain monk Jambu Vijaya Maharaj who had traveled almost-3000 km on foot from Ahmedabad with his disciples tried to pacify the agitators with promise that the building will neither have a pinnacle nor fly Jain flag. Even such a bold commitment did not satisfy the Hindus. They declared, ‘We shall demolish the structure and throw it into Ganges below and if the artisans continue even after this, we shall cut off their hands.’ The Jains demolished the columns the next day. Joined by local workers the fundamentalists held a meeting to mobilize support against Jains. They created such a tension that the district administration ordered on 8 July to send back to Haridwar a 31 inch high metal figure of 200 BC Jain saint Adinath which was to be installed in the prayer hall.
After this success the saffron-robed workers insisted that even the inner stone pillars in the prayer hall should be demolished. These fundamentalists allege that Jains are not Hindus because they believe in 24 Tiruthankars. They also allege that Jains are rich and have power to buy anyone. On the other hand, Hindu saints are no match to Jain monks who believe in renunciation and no lust for money..!