The Jain community has raised the pitch for minority status on par with the Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs, Muslims and Parsis, listed as notified minority groups under the Delhi Minorities Commission Act, 1999, reports said on April 20. Members of the community say they want minority status primarily because they want to incorporate Jainism as a subject in Jain schools. The capital and its adjoining areas have eight Jain schools. They are not being able teach Jainism to their children because most of the Jain schools in Delhi are partially funded by the government, which doesn’t allow the teaching of any particular religion at schools unless it is a minority community.
“The government is ignoring the community. We want minority status as enshrined (under Article 25) in the Indian Constitution, which empowers the government to accord minority status to six marginal ethno-religious groups, so that we can teach Jainism to our children in schools run by us. We don’t want reservations in jobs or in education,” Chakresh Jain, head of the Delhi Jain Samaj, reportedly said. The Jain community, who don’t like to be clubbed with Hindus, have their own temples, texts, religious mores, food habits and deities. Like Buddhism, the group is divided into two sects - the Shwetambar and Digambar folds.