The Jain monks of Palitana, a city in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district, called off their four-day-long hunger strike on Wednesday after the state government gave them an assurance to look into their demand to declare the entire town of Palitana a “vegetarian-only” zone. The town, one of the holiest pilgrimages for Jains, has over 25 per cent Muslims.
Minister of State for Cottage Industries, Salt and Cow Protection, Tarachand Chheda, Rajya Sabha Member Mansukh Mandavia and Bhavnagar district collector Pravin Solanki held a two-hour meeting with the representatives of the fasting monks on Wednesday. In the end, around 300 Jain sadhus and sadhvis agreed to call off their fast-unto-death after Chheda assured them the process will be initiated to declare Palitana a vegetarian-only town. According to the collector, Palitana has a population of around 50,000, out of which around 15,000 are Muslims.
“The government has assured them that Palitana municipality will adopt a resolution declaring it a vegetarian town. The district administration will forward the resolution to state urban development department. The government will take a final call after looking into various aspects,” said Solanki.
He further said that the existing notification declaring Taleti area and 2.5-km-long road from Bhairavnath Chowk to Taleti a vegetarian zone would be enforced vigorously.
The monks thanked the officials, but expressed hope that the government would declare slaughtering and sale of other non-vegetarian food items an “anti-social activity”.