Home News Jain college in U.P. says ABVP activists threatened to demolish idol, temple

Jain college in U.P. says ABVP activists threatened to demolish idol, temple

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A college run by the Jain community in Baghpat district of western Uttar Pradesh has accused the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of threatening to demolish a temple and an idol of a Jain goddess on the premises.

D.K. Jain, joint secretary of Digambar Jain College, said that around 25-30 persons, including girl students and outsiders, many of them wearing saffron scarves, barged into the campus and attempted to vandalise goddess Shrutdevi’s idol.

The college authorities said the mob locked the college gates and staged a dharna in front of the idol, which was installed in 2016 during the centenary year of the institution, and tried to vandalise the property. They demanded the removal of the idol.

The ABVP later apologised to the Digambar Jain community for the incident.

An FIR was lodged against four students and one unidentified person under Sections 147, 504 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. The accused were identified as Akshay Kumar, Yachika Tomar, Ankur Chaudhary and Happy Sharma.

Mr. Kumar is a third-semester M.A English student, as per the FIR lodged on the complaint of college principal Virendra Singh.

SHO of the Baraut police station Ajay Kumar Sharma, however, said no arrests were made in the case.

In the complaint, Dr. Virendra Singh said the activists raised indecent slogans in front of the temple. “We fear that these unruly students and others [outsiders] involved with them can cause harm to the temple and statue of Ma Shrutdevi, the symbol of faith of Jain devotees,” he stated.

ABVP: no support for such incident

The ABVP said the incident happened out of ignorance and without the knowledge of its main activists.

“Even then, the ABVP does not have even a shred of support for such an incident,” it said on Twitter.

“We consider the campus to be our temple of education and have a reverence for panths and traditions. Therefore, the ABVP apologizes for the entire society for the mistake of some workers of Baghpat,” it stated.

‘Dignity breached’

Amit Rai Jain, a Jain historian who attended a meeting of Jain groups and intellectuals after the incident, said the activists climbed on to the idol of Shrutdevi with their footwear and breached its dignity.

“They threatened to demolish the temple and issued an ultimatum saying that if the idol and the temple of Shrutdevi are not removed in seven days, they will demolish them,” Mr. Jain told reporters.

“This is highly condemnable. The Jain community is concerned. If idols of goddesses that are symbols of the Jain faith are insulted or questions raised on them within the campus of the Jain community, then the existence of the Jain religion and community will be under threat,” he remarked.

Earlier, the Baghpat police said on Twitter that the Baraut SHO had been directed to investigate the matter and take necessary legal action.

The SHO said, “We called both sides, spoke to them and tried to understand [their views]. Students aligned to the ABVP thought the Shrutdevi idol was made after modifying an idol of Ma Saraswati. It was nothing. There was a confusion. We made them sit together and hold talks.”

A Twitter page in the name of ABVP Baghpat Official had posted pictures of some persons staging a dharna in the college against the “contentious” idol.

Founded in 1916 by the Jain community to meet the growing demands of education in Baraut, the college gained the status of a degree college in 1947 and was upgraded to postgraduate courses in the 1960s. It has the status of a minority institution, says its official website.

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