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Jains win right to preserve ancient statue in MP

    Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), September 17, 2012: 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. – News Courtesy: Times of India

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