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After SC stay on 'Santhara', 83-year-old woman announces fast unto death

New Delhi: After Supreme Court stayed the Rajasthan High Court order to ban practicing Santhara, a 83-year-old woman in Rajasthan announced to undertake the Jain custom.Badani Devi, a Jain woman from Bikaner, has been fasting
India TV News Desk September 01, 2015 10:43 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: After Supreme Court stayed the Rajasthan High Court order to ban practicing Santhara, a 83-year-old woman in Rajasthan announced to undertake the Jain custom.

Badani Devi, a Jain woman from Bikaner, has been fasting for 46 days and has decided to observe Santhara, meaning she will be fasting unto death.

The Supreme Court's decision came as a huge relief for Daga family of Badani Devi and thousands of Jains like her who want to sacrifice herself for 'nirvana'.

A resident of Gangashahar of Bikaner, Badani is preparing for last ritual of her life through 'Santhara'.

On August 10, Rajasthan High Court had termed Jain's religious ritual 'Santhara' as illegal and made it punishable under Sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 309 (attempted suicide) of the IPC.

The SC on Monday overturned the HC's verdict and issued notices to the Rajasthan government and Centre to answer within four weeks why it had opposed the practice.

Last week, a Jain body had moved the Supreme Court challenging the Rajasthan High Court order.

An average 240 Jains practice 'Santhara' each year in India. Also in the first half of 2015, around 118 Jains observed 'Santhara' across India.

Around 300 BC, Chandragupta Maurya (founder of the Maurya Empire) undertook 'Santhara' atop Chandragiri Hill, Śravaṇa Beḷgoḷa, Karnataka.

The Jains believe Santhara is not only about death, destruction of life and mortal body. They believe that Santhara leads to non-violence, as person observing this practice subjugates the passions, which are the root cause of violence.