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85 Jain monks shunted by temple trusts across India

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A group of 85 monks that are shunted by temple trusts across India held a public meeting recently and declared that the scenario evolved in the Jain community is such that if any monk raises his voice for truth against the powerful community, then he would be left with few options: To live on the streets, camp at railway stations, give up monkhood and go home, or commit suicide.

Temple trusts have closed their doors on this large group after its head raised several questions and challenged the authority of Anandji Kalyanji Trust (AKT).

The head monk asked Jains to wake up to the fact that the community’s flagship temples were under attack and there was a dire situation at Jain pilgrim places, but the AKT has been silent over this.

“We have been shelterless for several months now. For speaking against all the wrong that has been taking place. We have not taken diksha for any upashray (temple residence). We will not tolerate any injustice that comes our way. But we will remain true and loyal to the religion,” said Gacchadipathi (spiritual sovereign)
Yugbhushansuriji Maharajsaheb, the head monk of the group who held a public meeting on Sunday morning in Borivli.

The matter dates back to March 10 when 85 Tapagach monks reached the Ghatkopar Navroji lane upashray after a long, barefooted journey from Bhandup.

They were stopped by Jains from the area and their belongings, including scriptures and medicines, were all thrown around. A hospital bed with railings that the senior-most monk uses was also pushed down the stairway. Police had to be called to end the commotion and the monks were forced to leave.

These monks have been preaching out of banquet or marriage halls, exhibition centres or libraries and research centres. In one instance, they lived in the parking lot of a tower when nothing else was available for them. Currently residing in an institute library, the public meeting was a wake-up call for Jains Referring to the

Lateran Treaty signed between the Pope and the Italian government, which recognised the papal sovereignty over the Vatican City, Yugbhushansuriji Maharajsaheb said religious heads don’t get sovereignty by an Act.

“The same country which recognises the Pope as head of state, which accepts the sovereignty of the Dalai Lama does not even give an appointment to its own religious heads. There has been a devaluation of our own religious heads,” he added.

The followers of the pontiff had moved the Supreme Court alleging that they were being prevented from entering upashray (temple residence) to observe their religious practices. The petitioners have been writing to the police and home departments in various states claiming that they are being prevented from entering the upashray. The SC asked the petitioners to file a case in a lower court.

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