Jain Idols To Be Reinstalled In Original Spot 

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Jain Idols To Be Reinstalled In Original Spot 

| Updated: June 18, 2024 12:30

Govt orders reinstallation of idols in Pavagadh after Jain community members protest

Following vociferous protests by members of the Jain community, the state government on Monday directed authorities in Panchmahals district to reinstall idols of Jain Tirthankars that had been removed from their original spot, allegedly to make way for renovation. 

The centuries-old idols had been placed near the stairs leading to Kalika Mata temple on Pavagadh hill. While community members alleged these idols were removed by the temple trust as part of a renovation project, the trust clarified they might have been displaced while removing an old shed on the stairs and maintained it was not done out of any ill will.

On Monday morning, some community members noticed that six to seven idols were removed from the original place. Community members as well as religious leaders of the Jain community staged protests in Vadodara, Halol and Surat and gave a memorandum to district collectors.

Swift action taken

Gujarat Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi swung into action and ordered restoration of these idols at their original site after discussing the issue with Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.

These idols were placed there centuries ago and were being worshipped by people. Permission was never given to any trust or individual to remove these idols. This act has hurt the religious sentiments of many people. After discussing the issue with the CM, the (Panchmahals) district collector has been asked to reinstall these idols at the same place, said Sanghavi.

In a memorandum submitted to the Halol police, community leader Kiran Duggad accused the trustees of ‘Shree Kalika Mataji Mandir Trust Pavagadh’ of removing the idols from both sides of the old stairs.

Duggad, on behalf of the Halol Jain Sangh, demanded immediate restoration of these idols and registration of an FIR against those involved in this act of “hurting religious sentiments of Jains”.

Vinod Variya, one of the temple trustees, held a meeting with Jain leaders in the presence of district authorities on Monday afternoon at Halol and announced the idols will be restored to the original location.

“I want to clarify that there was no desecration of any religious structure. As you all know renovation has been going on at Pavagadh,” said Variya.

As part of the renovation work, an old shed on the steps was removed as a precautionary measure so that it does not collapse in high-speed winds. It is possible some idols might have been displaced while removing the old shed, he added.

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