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Jain trust files plea in HC over Girnar shrine row

    Ahmedabad (Gujarat), January 10, 2013: The dispute regarding alleged illegal construction around a shrine on the fifth tonk (peak) of Girnar mountain in Junagadh has landed before the Gujarat high court. A trust of the Digambar Jain sect has alleged illegal construction around the idol and charan (footprint) of lord Neminath, in a manner that devotees could not see and worship the idol and footprint at the site.

    The dispute over the engraved stone idol and footprint on the fifth peak of Girnar goes back several years. While the Jains claim that they belong to lord Neminath, some Hindu mahants ascribe them to Lord Dattatreya.

    “We have raised the issue about construction of concrete platform and grill in such a manner that Jains cannot see and offer prayer to the footprint of lord Neminath,” said HR Prajapati, counsel for petitioner Bharatvarshiya Digambar Jain Trith Kshetra Committee.

    “There was a clear high court order in 2005 that prohibited any new construction at the site but it was constructed by overlooking the order,” the counsel said. He claimed that the archaeological department had concluded that illegal construction had taken place at the site.

    “Acting upon the high court direction, the archaeology department has recently conducted a survey and concluded that illegal construction had taken place. It also told the Junagadh district collector to raze the illegal construction. Now the high court will conduct further hearing on January 13,” Prajapati said.

    The matter of illegal construction around the monument had come before the Gujarat high court in 2004. After hearing all parties, the high court in 2005 had directed mahants to not undertake further construction at the site. – News Courtesy: DNA India

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