Monday, September 24, 2012

Jains Win Kundalpur Statue Case Against ASI


 NEW DELHI: In what is being widely perceived as a major win for the Jain community, the Madhya Pradesh high court has permitted a Jain trust to preserve an ancient 15-ft statue of deity Lord Adinath.

Situated in Kundalpur near Damoh in MP, the deity, popularly known as 'Bade Baba', forms part of a group of temples scattered over an area of nearly 200 acres dating back to the 6th-7th century AD and is revered for religious significance.

A bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Sushil Harkauli and Justice Alok Aradhe recently dismissed the Archaeological Survey of India's (ASI) ownership claim over the deity and the temple and concluded that ownership vested with the state government since the ASI had never staked claim after independence.

The HC also took into account the fact highlighted by former solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam, representing the trust, that historical records showed the temple in question was looked after well and preserved by the community and had never been in possession of the ASI.

He further argued that the temples were not accorded the status of national heritage, on the contrary, it has a religious importance.

The ASI filed a petition in 2006, requesting to stop construction of temple on the Kundalpur temple premises and hand over the idols found during construction work. In its plea, the ASI claimed Lord Adinath's idol and the temple signified archaeological importance and rights should be provided to it for its preservation. It accused the state and the trust of eyeing the area to carry out mining and quarrying activity but failed to substantiate the same.

Rejecting ASI's claim, the HC granted nod to 'Bade Baba Digambar Jain Temple Trust' for construction work provided it obtained permission from the state government within two months.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Jain Minority: Certificates to Prove Religious Identity


NEW DELHI: People belonging to minority groups, including Muslims, Jains and Sikh, will now need a certificate to prove their religious identity if they want to avail government policies meant for them. To curb misuse of policies, particularly those involving loans and scholarships for minorities, Delhi government is working on a policy that will help it certify the bona fide of the applicant.

Revenue minister Arvinder Singh Lovely announced this in Delhi assembly in response to a series of queries raised by various MLAs on difficulties faced by applicants while availing these policies. The policies include various scholarship programmes for minority students, loan of upto Rs 3 lakh for higher studies and Dilli Swarojgar Yojana where SC/ST/Minorities/OBCs are provided loans up to Rs five lakh to help them set up a venture in Delhi.

"We are in process of making a policy that will help members of the minority community establish their identity on paper to avail facilities like loan, etc as bank work cannot be done without papers. It has already been discussed with chief minister Sheila Dikshit," said Lovely.

Earlier, during the discussion, power minister Haroon Yusuf suggested that a board or any other competent authority be set up by the revenue department to issue certificates to minorities.

Yusuf's suggestion came on social welfare minister Kiran Walia's statement saying that her department as of now follows the guidelines of Delhi Minorities Commission to ascertain a claim. "For Muslims, we were told that certificates are being issued by the Fatehpuri mosque to be used for claims. For other minorities, a similar certificate can be procured from their respective religious authorities," she said.

Sources said initially the government had suggested to rope in the area MLA for the process, but it was not considered feasible as only an executive is authorized to issue a certificate on behalf of the government.

"A few meetings have already been convened with senior officers of revenue department to work out a plan," said a senior government official.

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