Kamal Nath urges PM, Soren to rethink move to develop Jain pilgrimage site for tourism

Congress’ Madhya Pradesh unit chief Kamal Nath on Tuesday wrote to Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren urging him to reconsider the Centre’s proposal of developing ‘Tirthkar Sammed Shikhar’, a Jain pilgrimage site, as a tourist destination.

In his letter to Soren, he sought to remind him that the holy place is centre of faith of the people of the Jain community as at least 20 out of 24 Tirthankaras had attained salvation there and therefore, the place should be protected from any step that can dent its purity.

Nath noted that people of Jain community in Madhya Pradesh have unanimously opposed the Centre’s decison and have demanded the proposal be cancelled. “I would urge you to protect the purity of this holy place and reconsider the proposal to develop it on the lines of a tourist place. The decision would harm the purity the this holy place,” he wrote.

Nath has also written to the Prime Minister, opposing the proposal, stressing that this decision would be against the faith of Jain community.

“Through this letter, I would like to seek your attention on an important issue. Centre has declared the holy place – ‘Tirthkar Sammed Shikhar’, a holy place, which is centre of faith of the Jain community, a tourist place. I would appeal you to reconsider on this decision to protect the purity of the place. Your this step will be a milestone to protect the religious harmony of the country,” Nath urged in his letter sent on December 17.

The state Congress has extended its support to the people of the Jain community and organisations raising voice against the Centre’s decision and have been staging protest in several parts of the country, including Madhya Pradesh where a large population of the community live, especially in Bundelkhand region.

Rajya Sabha MP and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh on Monday said that ‘Tirthkar Sammed Shikhar’ is a holy pilgrimage spot and it should be developed on that way only, and not on the lines of a tourist place. “I would oppose the decision of developing holy pilgrimage as a tourist place. I believe that both Centre and the state governments will understand the difference between tourism and pilgrimage,” he said.

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