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Jain priest on fast to protest tourist tag for Parasnath hills dies | India News


JAIPUR: A Jain priest (72) who was on hunger strike for the past nine days to protest against Jharkhand government’s proposal declaring the Parasnath hills a tourist spot passed away in Jaipur on Tuesday.
Sugyeyasagar Maharaj’s death came amid protests at several places across the country against the plan. It happened a day after Jharkhand’s JMM-led government assured to maintain the sanctity of the revered Jain pilgrimage, indicating that it may revoke the 2019 proposal by the previous BJP government.
Jodhpur native Sugyeyasagar had started his fast at Jaipur’s Sanghiji temple after a march on December 25 against the plan related to Parasnath hills known as Sammed Shikharji — where 20 of the 24 Jain Tirthankars had attained moksha (salvation). This included Lord Parshvanath, the 23rd Tirthankara. Jains are concerned the tourism tag is leading to consumption of alcohol and non-vegetarian food by visitors around the hill site in Giridih district.
Sugyeyasagar’s funeral procession to Jaipur’s Sanganer — where he was given samadhi – drew scores of followers and other priests. “He has sacrificed life to save Sammed Shikharji. He was very attached to the scared place,” Bhagchandra Jain, president of All India Jain Bankers Forum, said.
Acharya Sunil Sagar, a priest, said, “Sammed Shikhar is our pride. Muni Sugyesagar Maharaj passed away at 6am. He has surrendered himself to our religion,” Sagar said.
Sugyesagar was born in Bilara, Jodhpur, but was based in Mumbai. He had taken “deeksha (initiation)” from Acharya Sunil Sagar Maharaj in Girnar, Gujarat His original name was Nemiraj. Acharya Shanshak, another priest, said the protest in Rajasthan against the Parasnath plan would intensify after January 15.



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