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Shravanabelgola

Bangalore Jains seek police protection for Digambara Munis

 



Bangalore: Several recent incidents have upset the Jain community. Consider this: A Jain Muni was walking near Hebbal flyover, surrounded by around five to six devotees. As is the tradition, a flag-bearing devotee was walking in front of the Muni when a few people came out of nowhere, snatched the flag and tried to forcibly cover the Muni with it. "We were totally shocked,” Manjunath, a member of the Chaturmaasa committee, sid. “Since we do not follow the tradition of having bodyguards, we are forced to take police protection.”

This is not an isolated incident. When a Jain Muni was passing Mantri Mall in Malleswaram, a passerby came running towards him and tried to cover him with a piece of cloth. And recently, media houses were flooded with calls, informing them about a ‘nude man’ walking near Queen’s Road. Some people even alerted cops. However, inquiries revealed that it was a Jain Muni and not a nudist as people had assumed.

“While such incidents do not hurt the Munis, it is embarrassing for the devotees escorting them,” Manjunath said. Devotees coordinating the walks actually live in fear of attack. “We did not expect such incidents in Bangalore. We believed there would be a greater level of tolerance in Bangalore,” he added.

The problem is aggravated when the Munis have to walk long distances. “Many Munis walk from Bangalore to Shravanabelgola. As density of traffic on Tumkur Road is high, we decided to take Magadi Road. We had to ask all local police stations in writing for protection,” said Jayaraja Ariga, another member of the committee.

Committee members also recall the experience of Munis going from Bangalore to Tamil Nadu. “There have been numerous instances especially around Salem where people refuse to allow Munis to walk on the road. Many of them stop us and ask us to return. In one such instance, we made a chain of devotees, each of whom covered the Muni as he passed. We had to do this for hundreds of kilometres,” explained Shashi Kumar, convenor of the Jain community in Bangalore. Source: Bangalore Mirror