More than 20,000 Jains participated in a rally near Azad Maidan on Monday, demanding protection for members of their community in the country.
Wearing black ribbons, holding placards and raising slogans, they walked for about a kilometre before gathering at Azad Maidan where gurujis and community leaders addressed the people.
“A total of 250 Jain monks have died in the last five years. Recently, a monk was attacked when he was returning from Girnar Hill in Gujarat which has been illegally encroached by another sect called Pandas for the last 15-20 years,” said Vasantbhai Doshi, a member of Digambar Jain Maha Samiti. “Two monks were killed in road accidents. We are sure that the deaths and accidents are conspiracies and we want help from the Gujarat government to take cognisance of it and conduct an inquiry into these deaths.”
Gurijis Virag Sagar Maharaj, Vinamra sagar Maharaj and Amog Kirtisagar Maharaj said the rally was to ensure that the community is given importance and protection, both at the state and the central level.
They also wanted policewomen to protect woman monks when they start their Vihar Yatra from one city to another.
A letter has been sent to Maharashtra chief minister and a meeting was conducted with Home Minister RR Patil with these demands.
Atulkumar Vrajlal Shah, trustee of Shri Vardhman Parivar, said, “We will fight for our rights and make sure that attacks on Jain leaders end. This is possible only if the state and central government take action. The response from the state government has been favourable and it has promised to protect us.”