Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Jain Minority Issue: Points to be Considered

 -Mahavir Sanglikar

Jain activists working on Jain minority issue should think on following points:

National Minority Status
Getting national minority status is a must thing to get all the benefits offered by Central Government to the religious minority communities. At present, we get the benefits offered by state Governments only, that too only for the community members of the states which have declared Jains as a religious minority.

Remember that minority status has nothing to do with Separate Religious Identity, but it is for upliftment of followers of minority religions, and to safeguard their interests. Minority status issue is about Jain Community, not about Jain religion. Also remember that National Minority Status is our constitutional right.  

Minority Status in States
If we get national minority status, we will get minority status in all the states and territories of India. This means that we will get the status automatically in the states where we yet have not gotten it.  However, as National Minority Status for Jains is a pending issue, we should try our best to get minority status in maximum number of states. This will help us to get National Minority Status, as well as to get benefits offered by state Governments to minority communities.

National Minority benefits in States
As we yet are not considered as religious minority on national level, we do not get any benefits offered by Central Government. We should demand for Central Government benefits to Jain community in the states, where we come under religious minority status.

Minority Certificate
Jain students and other young Jains are facing problems while proving their religious identity to get state Government benefits. We should demand for issue of Jain Minority Certificates from related State Governments. Recently, Uttar Pradesh Government has started to issue such certificates.

Divided We Fall
The Jain activists working on this issue are scattered, many of them have sectarian spirit and they avoid to co-operate and co-ordinate with each other on this issue. We should remember that the minority status is for entire Jain community and it has nothing to do with sects, i.e. Digambars or Shwetambars. If we do not work together, be sure to get setbacks in this mission.

In fact we need to establish two co-ordination committees to handle Minority Issue. First committee of all Jains working on this issue. Second of Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs who are facing the same problems. Further, we should Co-ordinate with the activists from other religious minority communities like Muslims and Christians.

OBCs & STs in Jains
A big number of Jain castes come under Other Backward Castes (OBC). Minority Status and OBC Status are two different things. While minority status is for all Jains, OBC status is only for those who belong to the Other Backward Castes. The same thing is about Tribal Jains. They come under ST (Scheduled Tribe). Another fact is that If People belonging to Schedule Castes (To whom we know as Dalits) become Jains, they get OBC status.

Jain Law
At present, Hindu law is applied to Jains. We should demand for Jain Law for Jains. Sikhs and Buddhists have already demanded for separate laws for them. Take it seriously, or we will have to face problems like we are facing in minority issue right now.

Also read: States where Jains are declared as Religious Minor...

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