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Mumbai: In a move that may not go down well with the majority community, the 50,000-strong Jain community in Thane has appealed to its members to shun firecrackers this Diwali. The move assumes significance as it comes a couple of weeks after the controversy over the ban on beef during the Jain fasting period of Paryushan.
In fact, the community elders are pressing for a blanket ban on crackers altogether. The members of the Rajasthani Jain Sangh, one of the oldest associations in the city that runs many Jain temples, has urged the youths and children to celebrate the festival – which starts from November 9 – without causing harm to the environment and birds and animals.
The Sangh is appealing to the visitors to the 150-year-old Jain temple in Tembhi Naka to say no to crackers.
If the youths pay heed to their appeal, the Sangh plans to give away gifts and awards in the form of certificate to them.
The members will be spreading a word among their neighbours, friends as well as colleagues with an aim to reach out to maximum people.
“We want children to learn from an early age itself about their responsibilities towards Mother Nature. It is important that they are aware of the ways to not disturb the lives of birds and animals in their surroundings,” said Uttamchand Solanki, president of the Sangh.
“So we have planned to give gift to kids who avoid bursting firecrackers. The aim is to encourage them to celebrate Diwali without causing pollution and not harming animals and birds,” added Solanki.
Gunwant Salecha, another community member, said, “Diwali can be celebrated without disturbing the environment. It’s known as the festival of lights, and we want kids from the community to celebrate it without troubling birds and animals.”
“Also, we can suffer from breathing problems because of pollution or end up with burn injuries due to firecrackers. So, we want to completely avoid this way of celebration,” Salecha added.
Members of other communities are not taking too kindly to the initiative of the Jains. “All these years, they never voiced their demands politically or for imposition on everyone. But now, the Jains are becoming increasingly vocal about their demands, even if for seemingly right causes. This is interference and is bound to provoke others,” said Naupada resident Dilip Hajwane.