Santhara means a fast unto death. In this practice in the Jain community a person stops eating and even drinking water and awaits death. I first discussed Santhara in a comprehensive look at VSED 2011.
On Monday, the Rajasthan High Court declared the practice illegal. (Times of India)
The court called the practice punishable under section 309 of the IPC as an attempt to commit suicide. The court also ordered support to Santhara by any person punishable as abetment under section 306 of the IPC.
Interestingly, some of the argument parallels US arguments over whether AID constitutes suicide. “Jain saints argue that Santhara is a voluntary act carried out rationally and cannot be considered suicide. They say it is something one does with full knowledge and intent, unlike suicide which is typically an emotional and impulsive act.”
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