Jain Indian Fasts to Death in Controversial Practice

October 2, 2006

Source: BBC News


On October 2, 2006 BBC News reported, "Another person belonging to India's Jain community has died in the western state of Rajasthan after observing a controversial religious custom. Amar Chand, 76, died on Monday after observing 'santhara', a centuries-old Jain practice where a person starves to prepare spiritually for their death. Campaigners want the practice banned, saying it is similar to suicide. Last week a Jain woman, 60-year-old Vimla Devi, died in the state capital, Jaipur, after fasting for 14 days... Mr Chand's family members in the city of Ajmer said he had been ill for some time and decided to fast last Friday.. Jain Samta Vahini, an organisation representing the Jain community, has claimed that every year, around 100 people observe 'santhara' to attain salvation... A writ petition challenging the practice of 'santhara' is currently before Rajasthan High Court. The court has fixed 5 October for the hearing... Jains make up about 1.28% of Rajasthan's population."