A Jain monk named Samarth Sagar in Rajasthan’s Jaipur passed away while participating in an indefinite hunger strike in protest of the Jharkhand government’s decision to declare the sacred Shri Sammed Shikharji a tourist destination. Samarth Sagar began the hunger strike after another monk, Muni Sugyeya Sagar, died on January 3 while also protesting the tourist designation of the site. Samarth Sagar’s funeral procession took place from the Jain temple in Sanganer, where his final rites were conducted.
The decision to declare Shri Sammed Shikharji a tourist destination has been met with significant opposition from members of the Jain community, who believe it will desecrate the sacred site. The hunger strikes and protests by the monks are a demonstration of their strong conviction in the importance of preserving the sanctity of the pilgrimage site.
Before beginning his hunger strike, Saint Samarth Sagar has pledged to fast until the designation of Sammed Shikhar ji as a holy pilgrimage. The Jain community, have stated that the protest will continue until the site is declared a holy Jain pilgrimage. During the funeral proceedings for Muni Sugyeya Sagar, Jain monk Sunil Sagar Maharaj stated that it was Saint Samarth Sagar’s wish that Shikharji be protected from tourism and recognized as the holiest Jain pilgrimage.
A Jain Muni (monk) in the Jain temple in Sanganer, India, stopped consuming food and water in protest of the Jharkhand government’s decision to declare the sacred Jain pilgrimage site of Shri Sammed Shikharji a tourist spot. The monk passed away this morning and was cremated in Jain Nasiya Road Atishay Teerth Virodaya Nagar Sanganer. Many followers of the religion attended the monk’s cremation to pay their respects. Following the monk’s death, another Jain sage, Samarth Sagar, declared an indefinite hunger strike.
Acharya Sunil Sagar Maharaj, another Jain monk, stated that the monk who passed away sacrificed his life for the protection of pilgrimages. Maharaj went on to say that there is a lack of communication between the government and society, and that the government should withdraw its decision to declare the pilgrimage site a tourist spot in order to preserve its sanctity.
Recently, a protest took place at the Indian Gate in Delhi in which hundreds of people participated.