Jain sadhus, sadhvis permitted to practice vihar during lockdown
The Maharashtra government has allowed the Jain community sadhus and sadhvis to practice their rituals of ‘vihar’ (journey on foot) for chaturmas and reside at various places in the next few months. The government has issued a notification asking its members to observe social distancing and COVID-19 norms issued by the central and the state government.
Maharashtra Relief and Rehabilitation Secretary Kishor Raje Nimbalkar, on Saturday, issued the notification. “It was necessary. Due to the lockdown, Jain sadhus and sadhvi would not be able to journey on foot. They have to reach their respective destinations within a stipulated time period. However, they will have to avoid crowds. At a time, more than five will not travel together. They will have to also take care to avoid gathering at the place where they will be living,’’ Nimbalkar said.
He said that sadhus and sadhvis will have to wear masks and keep distance.
Chetan Dedhia, representing about 10 Jain groups, said the government has intervened at the right time to avoid any untoward incident during such a barefoot journey by sadhus and sadhvis. They have to reach before the onset of monsoon to their respective destinations and they reside till the monsoon ends.
“The government issued a notification after a representation was made citing one incident that took place in Dombivli, where sadhus and sadhvis were targeted by the locals taking objection to their journey during the lockdown,’’ said Dedhia.
Further, few Jain community leaders have thanked Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for his immediate response.