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Jains in Rajasthan protest ban on religious fast to death

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Jaipur: Hundreds of members of Jain community took out a rally here on Monday in protest against a Rajasthan High Court order declaring “Santhara”  a religious fast to death as “unconstitutional”. “We want to educate people on Santhara so we took out this march,” said Vijay Jain, a shopkeeper. “There is a need to understand that Santhara and suicide are not the same,” he added. The followers of Jainism did not open their shops and did not send their children to schools and colleges. Schools owned or run by the community were closed on Monday. Similar marches were observed in other parts of the state includinhg Kota, Banswara and Ajmer among others.

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tribune.com.pk

A division bench of the high court on August 10 had declared Santhara unconstitutional as it heard a public interest litigation filed in 2006 by Nikhil Soni. “The court observed that it (Santhara) is violation of article 21 of the constitution and directed the state to stop this process. If someone practices it then FIR should be filed against the person under the Indian Penal Code’ section 309 – punishment for attempting suicide – and police to undertake investigation into it,”. He said that anyone provoking or supporting them should also be booked under IPC’s section 306, relating to abatement of suicide.

(IANS)

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Cow to be declared a National Animal and its killers will be sentenced to Life Imprisonment, suggests Rajasthan High Court

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The judge appointed the Chief Secretary and the Advocate General of Rajasthan as persons in loco parentis (custodians) for the protection and conservation of cows, VOA

Jaipur, May 31, 2017: The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday suggested that the cow should be declared a national animal and its killers be sentenced to life imprisonment.

“Keeping in mind Articles 48 and 51A (g) of the Constitution and to provide legal entity for their proper protection and conservation of cow, it is expected from the government that cow is declared a national animal,” Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma said in a 145-page order.

Describing himself as a “Shiv bkaht”, the judge, on the eve of his retirement, gave a ruling relating to the Hingonia Gaushala of Jaipur.

According to NGOs, over 500 cows had died at the Hingonia Bovine Animal Rehabilitation Centre in a span of 1-2 months in 2016 due to improper care.

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The court said India was a predominantly agriculture-based country where animal husbandry played an important role.

“It should also be kept in mind that that Hindus have got great faith in cows and Nepal, which is a Hindu nation, has declared cow a national animal,” he said.

The judge appointed the Chief Secretary and the Advocate General of Rajasthan as persons in loco parentis (custodians) for the protection and conservation of cows.

These officials will work for the protection and conservation of cows and to declare cow a national animal, the ruling said.

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The court said that it expected the Rajasthan government to increase to life imprisonment punishment for killing cows.

The single bench court said any person or organisation was free to approach the court with a plea in the form of a PIL to declare cow as a national animal. (IANS)

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India, US cooperation on mega-city governance growing: Indian envoy

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Washington, Oct 9 (IANS) India-US cooperation in governance of mega-cities is part of a whole new paradigm of working together and forming habits of cooperation between the world’s two largest democracies, according to the Indian ambassador Arun K Singh.

“It takes diplomacy beyond the nation-state,” he said at an event at Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, on the Megacity Challenge ahead of a conference on Megacity Security in Mumbai next month.

“As our bilateral partnership goes forward under the motto of “Sanjha Prayas, Sab Ka Vikas” or “Shared Effort, Progress for All,” we need to take our cities along in this endeavour – with their myriad challenges and their limitless opportunities,” Singh said.

Noting that an expert committee had in 2011 indicated a requirement of investment in urban infrastructure to the tune of $1 trillion over the next 20 years, he said: “For us in India, the megacity challenge is a living challenge of massive proportion.”

The US government, private sector, businesses and the civil society, Singh said had been associated in several transformative initiatives in India.

The Bloomberg Philanthropies have supported the India Smart Cities challenge, he noted. The US has been identified as the lead partner in developing smart cities in three Indian cities — Ajmer, Visakhapatnam and Allahabad.

The USAID, through the Urban India Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Alliance, is serving as knowledge partner to support the Prime Minister’s 500 cities National Urban Development Mission and Clean India Campaign.

There was also growing bilateral cooperation for making the two countries’ megacities safe and secure, Singh said observing “the designs of terrorists over mega-cities was evident to both countries — during 9/11 in New York City and during 26/11 in Mumbai.”

To meet the challenges of modern day policing in megacities, Government of India has undertaken Megacity Policing initiative with focus on building the technology capability of Police forces.

Currently, police forces in seven cities – Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad — are being modernized under this scheme.

Megacities Policing is one of the six major components of India-US bilateral homeland security cooperation pursued under the Ministerial Homeland Security Dialogue, Singh noted.

“Whether it is tackling terrorism, investigation of modern crimes, identification of suspects, managing intelligent traffic system or building effective command and control system or fusion centres, the US has capacities that can be considered and adapted in India for mutual benefit,” he said.

“They will create security in our cities and potential for business and technology partnership,” Singh said.

“Of course, megacity policing is only one small part of our growing cooperation in the field of homeland security,” he said citing several areas from building capacity in cyber security to a partnership for counter-IED cooperation.

“Security cooperation in turn is a small subset of our wide-ranging strategic and global partnership,” Singh added.

 

(Arun Kumar, IANS)

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Supreme Court stays Rajasthan HC judgment prohibiting Jain Sallekhana

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Photo Credit: mangu.tv

By NewsGram Staff-Writer

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday ordered a stay on the 10-August Rajasthan High Court ruling that equated the ancient Jain spiritual practice of Sallekhana with committing suicide. The Rajasthan HC ruling had allowed prosecution of the Sallekhana practitioners under Section 306 of Indian Penal Code.

Digamber_Jain_Monk_AnimationMany from the Jain community had filed petitions in the Supreme Court against the HC ruling. On Monday, the SC bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy took up the petition for hearing and immediately ordered a stay on the HC ruling. The SC then issued a notice to the petitioners on whose pleas, the HC had passed its judgment, according to a Times of India report.

Sallekhana or Santhara is an ancient spiritual practice among the Jains, wherein people who were in old age or afflicted with fatal diseases, will take up spiritual austerities and fasting by slowly giving up the intake of food and water. The final stage of the practice consists of discarding the body through total giving up of food and water.

In 2006, Nikhil Soni had filed a PIL in Rajasthan HC challenging the legality of this practice.