In view of massive protests by the member of Jain community across India against decision to declare Holy Parasnath hills as a tourist destination, the Jharkhand government is considering to reverse the decision and de-notify the area from the eco-sensitive zone.
Last week, the Central government wrote to the state government to consider denotification of the ESZ area. Earlier, on August 2nd 2019, the central government had notified a part of Parasnath as a wildlife sanctuary and eco-sensitive zone based on recommendation made by the state government.
Jains contend that Parasnath hill (or Sammed Shikhar) is too holy and sacred place to allow tourism and non-religious activities. Designating as tourist place would inevitably lead to unethical activities like meat eating, alcohol consumption which will hurt religious sentiments of ‘non-violent’ Jain society.
Parasnath Hill (or, Sammed Sikhar) is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites for Jains on Chota Nagpur Plateau in the Giridih district of Jharkhand. It is named after Parasnath, the 23rd Tirthankara. Lord Mahavira (also known as Vardhaman) was the 24th tirthankara.
Twenty of Jain Tirthankaras attained salvation on Parasnath hill. For each of them there is a shrine on the hill. Being the site of ‘Nirvana’ (salvation) of as many as 20 Tirthankaras, it is a deeply revered place for Jains and Hindus.
The site is habited from ancient times. Some of the temples on the hill are believed to be more than 2,000 years old.