Monday, January 17, 2011

National Minority Status for Jain Community Soon: Union Law Minister

The Union government is working out a formula for ensuring national minority status for the Jain community, Union Law Minister M.Veerappa Moily said here on Saturday.

Speaking at the inaugural function of Jain International Trade Organisation (JITO) Global Summit-2011, he said, “We are definitely working out a formula to execute it as early as possible.”

He urged the Jain community to utilise the capacity as entrepreneurs to take the nation forward. “We are with you,” said Mr. Moily. He also pointed to the contribution of Jain poets to literature, particularly Kannada literature.

Jain community is a minority in some States of India. But they are not a Central minority, said Abhishek Manu Singhvi, AICC spokesperson.

He stressed the need for filing a new Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for reversing a judgment of the Supreme Court that said Jain community was part of the Hindu tradition. Mr. Singhvi said various High Court judgments had recognised the Jain community as a minority. He asked the Jain community to seek national minority status, “get it and return it” to celebrate the diversity of Indian culture.

Mr. Singhvi advocated the codification of ritualistic differences between various sects of the community. “Today's youth do not realise the footprint of Jain heritage. We live in an era of multiple crises. Old structures are breaking down,” he added.

“We do not have consensus for statutory amendments,” said Mr.Singhvi. Adding that the problem of moral deficit cannot be solved by legislation, he said “The present system of education values memory more than intellect. This imbalance has to be corrected.”

Voicing a similar view, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu N. Ram said, “We are not doing enough to strengthen the foundation of education. The media have not concentrated enough on this. Much more effort has to be put in by all stakeholders, including the media.” The media can do much more, through its agenda-building role, to promote this positive learning about culture, he added.

“Diversity of Indian culture has to be respected,” said Mr.Ram. He urged the Jain community not to declare themselves as Hindus in the Census 2011, as “we want a precise figure.”

On the summit's concluding day on Sunday, JITO Secretary General Rakesh Metha said Jain universities would be set up in the four regions of the country. Speaking on the theme ‘Entrepreneurship: start up and scale up', he said 2011 has been declared as ‘Education Year' in which Jain universities would be set up to streamline the education system. “Besides, existing schools run by Jain institutions would be upgraded. If they need fund for upgradation, the Central Apex body would come forward to match it with the donors' contribution,” Mr. Metha said.

N. Tarachand Dugar, Secretary General (TN, AP and Pondy Zone), JITO said that the apex body would take up the issue of setting up the universities with the University Grants Commission. (The Hindu)

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