HC Notice To Gujarat Govt, Centre As Jains Claim First Right To Worship At Girnar's Fifth Peak - Vibes Of India

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HC Notice To Gujarat Govt, Centre As Jains Claim First Right To Worship At Girnar’s Fifth Peak

| Updated: February 19, 2024 14:12

The Gujarat high court has issued notice to the state government and the Centre regarding a petition filed by Jain religious organisations, which claims the first right to worship on the fifth peak of the Girnar hills at the foot imprints of the 22nd Tirthankara, Lord Neminatha.

This dispute over the peak of Girnar hills in Junagadh has been ongoing between Jains and Hindus for a long time.

While Jains worship Neminatha’s foot imprints, Hindus consider them imprints of Dattatreya, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. The issue escalated in 2004, leading to police complaints from devotees of both religions.

Two decades later, two religious outfits – Jain Dharm Sanrakshan Maha Sangh and Sakal Digamber Jain Sadharmi Sahyog Pratishthan – have filed a petition through advocate Rathin Raval, seeking a declaration that Digambar Jains have the primary right to worship at the fifth peak of Girnar.

The petitioners supplied voluminous documents to the court to establish the historicity of the claims that the fifth peak originally belonged to the Jains, and they had been worshipping Neminath’s foot imprints for centuries. They supplied documents from the Mughal and the British eras to substantiate their claims.

The petitioners have complained that the Jains are not allowed to enter the place of worship and perform religious activities in peace. They alleged that encroachers had intentionally covered the footmarks of Lord Neminatha.

The petitioners have also urged the HC to direct the authorities to protect the ancient heritage monuments on the fifth peak.

The petitioners contended that the Gujarat state had issued a notification under the Gujarat Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, in which the fifth peak at Girnar was declared a protected monument. However, the petitioners claimed that construction was going on unabated at this site.

After a preliminary hearing, Justice VD Nanavati sought responses from the state and central authorities, including the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Gujarat Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board, and posted further hearing on April 2.

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