Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jain sadhvi alleges molestation in Palitana

BHAVNAGAR: A Jain sadhvi's alleged molestation outside a dharamsala in the pilgrim town of Palitana has outraged the region's Jain community.

In a complaint registered on Monday, the 27-year-old sadhvi told the police that a man attacked her on February 9, when she had gone into the open field behind the dharamsala to attend to the nature's call. She said the man molested her and ran away when she shouted for help.

As the community threatened a major agitation, the police held an identification parade on Monday, in which the sadhvi identified a balloon-seller, Laxman Bhara, who lives near the dharamsala , as the culprit. Bhara was immediately arrested.

Palitana police inspector R J Waghela said Bhara had taken the sadhvi by surprise, pushed her to the ground and tried to gag her. But sadhvi's cries forced Bhara to flee, he said. The sadhvi had immediately informed the dharamsala caretakers about the incident. The police was called in, but the caretakers didn't want to register the complaint initially, preferring to discuss the issue among themselves first.

Maharaj Revant Vijay of the Palitana Jain temple has demanded stern action against the accused. The community's religious heads are planning a protest rally.

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