Sammed Shikharji row: Amid severe protests, the Centre and the Jharkhand government have decided that the Jain site of Sammed Shikharji will remain a place of pilgrimage and not be converted into a tourism hub, National Commission for Minorities chairperson Iqbal Singh Lalpura said Wednesday.
He said the Commission held a hearing on the matter on Tuesday where the Jharkhand government has assured that it will issue an official order soon.
"Regarding the issue of Sammed Shikhar in Jharkhand over which the Jains were protesting, the Centre and the Jharkhand government have decided that it will remain a pilgrim place," Lalpura said at a press conference here.
"Alcohol or meat will not be allowed there. We intervened in the matter and we thank the Centre and the Jharkhand government for heeding our recommendation. We had a hearing yesterday and it was decided that it would not be turned into a tourism place and will remain a religious place," he said.
The Jain community is at peace now with this decision, Lalpura added.
Centre held meeting with Jain leaders amid protests
The NCM had said earlier that it had received various representations from the Jain community regarding the conversion of the Jain pilgrimage site Shri Sammed Shikharji Hill into an eco-tourism hub by the Jharkhand government and the central dispensation.
The Centre on January 5 had stayed all tourism activities at Parasnath Hill where the Jain religious site of Sammed Shikharji is located and directed the Jharkhand government to immediately take all steps necessary to protect its sanctity.
The development came after Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav met various representatives of the Jain community over the issue and assured that the government is committed to maintaining the sanctity of 'Sammed Shikharji Parvat Kshetra' which is a holy place not only for the Jain community but for the entire country.
Sammed Shikharji, located on Parasnath Hill in the Giridih district of Jharkhand, is the biggest pilgrimage centre of the Jain community. Members of the community have been protesting against the state government's move to promote religious tourism at Parasnath Hill. In August 2019, the Union Environment Ministry notified an eco-sensitive zone around the Parasnath Sanctuary and approved eco-tourism activities in pursuance of the proposal submitted by the state government.
(With inputs from PTI)
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