In view of some unsavory incidents, which occurred in Goa and Maharashtra a few months back, a section of Jain community (Digamber Jains) have decided to take a stand against a probable law on banning open defecation.
The Centre is mulling a law on banning open defecation and making it punishable offence in line with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan but this particular Jain sect says the ban would be hurting their religious sentiments.
They have thus submitted a memorandum to central union ministers asking them not enforce such a ban as it would go against their religious sentiments.
Digamber Jain Munis have been practising the ritual of open defecation for centuries and they consider the use of flush and other modern loo amenities as an assault on their religious senses.
Flushing is likely to kill the microorganisms and killing any being is a sin for the community. That is why flushing faeces is avoided and it is left in the open.
The Digamber Jain munis also give up wearing clothes. The Digamber Jains believe that nakedness is the glowing example of socialism and aprigrah (Possession less) of a very high order. Naked Jain saints present an example of socialism and aprigrahvad denouncing the love and possession of worldly wealth and essentials of very high order by discarding gold, silver, money other valuables and even this necessary to protect his body.
Jain Ravindra Kala of Jain Rajnitik Chetna Manch, Delhi said in view of a incident in Goa wherein Digamber Jain muni was complained about and some other incidents in Maharashtra, the Digamber Jain community have submitted a memorandum to central ministers Rajnath Singh and Prakash Javadekar recently.
He said : “We have submitted the memorandum as a precautionary measure to make them aware that a law banning open defecation would be detrimental to our religious sentiments. The memorandum also said that naked munis was a part of religious ritual and cannot be looked down upon. Jains practice many rituals and government cannot thrust upon us anything, which is against our non-violence beliefs. we would also approach the Prime Minister when he returns.”
Ravindra Jain further said that as per Jain rituals, the munis do not defecate in the open but certain designated sites are built in the ashrams for them.
A World Health Organisation (WHO) report says India has 626 million people who still practice open defecation and accounts for 59 per cent of the 1.1 billion people in the world who practice open defecation.
Both the Congress and the BJP promised to put an end to open defecation in their 2014 general election manifestos.
During his campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised: “Toilets first, temples later”.