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Death of Jain monks sparks violent outbursts

    Bharuch (Gujarat), January 2, 2013: Wide spread protests have been reported following the mowing down of two Jain monks by a truck near Asuria village located nine kilometres from Bharuch on Tuesday. Stone pelting on the police and subsequent lathi charge took place during their Palkhi Yatra in Bharuch on Wednesday.

    More than 10,000 people from the Jain community across the state gathered in Bharuch to attend the cremation of the two monks. The route of the Palkhi Yatra of monks Shri Gyanshekhar Vijay Maharaj and Shri Hastigiri Maharaj Sahib was to begin at 9 am from Srimali Pole Jain Temple in Bharuch to the place where the accident had taken place. However, the route was changed following insistence by the police that was protested by the community leaders.

    The yatra reached Zadeshwar Chowkdi on the highway causing a massive traffic jam. Efforts were made by Inspector General of Police Shashikanth Trivedi, Superintendent of Police Gautam Parmar, MP Mansukh Vasava along with MLAs Dushyant Patel and Arunsinh Rana to maintain calm but they went in vain.

    Some miscreants started pelting stones on the police and the latter resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the crowd.

    The yatra eventually reached the spot of the accident late in the afternoon where the bodies of both the monks were cremated.

    Ajitbhai R Mehta of Jain Monk Vihar Group based in Surat said, “We demand a thorough investigation in the accidental deaths of the monks which we believe is premeditated. We condemn the attitude of the police. Instead of beating innocent people who came to attend the cremation of respected monks they need to investigate the killing of saints who spread the message of peace and harmony in the society.” He said that more than 40 monks have been killed in road accidents in the last five years.

    Meanwhile, reports of protests by community members have also poured in from Vadodara, Navsari, Ankleshwar and other places. – News Courtesy: Times of India

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