Pashupatinath row hots up

via Shirish Pradhan | Kathmandu - Daily Pioneer published on January 3, 2009








The
row over the storming of Nepal’s holiest temple Pashupatinath by the
Maoists is set to take the form of a sustained agitation, with a
‘struggle committee’ being formed to step up pressure on the
Prachanda-led Government to implement an apex court order.

The
former guerrillas had stormed the shrine on Thursday defying Nepal’s
Supreme Court order staying the appointment of Nepalese priests
following the sacking of Indian Brahmins involved in the traditional
rituals at the temple for the past 300 years.

The civil society
people on Saturday formed a 32-member ‘struggle committee’ to launch an
agitation if the CPN-Maoist-led Government fails to abide by the
Supreme Court verdict that directed the authorities to allow the Indian
Priests to conduct the traditional rituals at the historic shrine.

“We
have set two pre-conditions for dialogue with the Government which
includes allowing the Indian priests to resume their worship until new
arrangements and to guarantee the assets of the Pashupatinath temple,”
said Shiv Sharanraj Bhandari, the coordinator of the ‘struggle
committee’.

He said the assets of the Pashupatinath temple,
including a storehouse of abundant gold and other valuables were being
protected by the Bhandari community residing around the temple after
the Maoist cadres stormed the main shrine.

Bhandari said the
Government has politicised the issue by interfering in the affairs of
famous temple. Apprehending trouble for their appointees, the
Maoist-led government has deployed riot police in large numbers to act
tough with protesters.

Bhandari said the Government should
accept the court’s interim order. He was concerned that the authorities
are not respecting the court verdict. “We are not against appointing
Nepali priests, but it should be done in a proper manner by fulfilling
all traditional requirements, Bhandari underlined. He said the sudden
appointment of new priests by haphazardly sacking the Indian priests is
not acceptable to them.

He pointed out that there are
thousands of Nepalese working as priests at various Indian temple and
the incident may also affect their employment across the border. The
customary worship, ‘Nitya Puja’ at Pashupatinath has been disrupted for
the past three days, Bhandari said, adding it was the first instance in
over 250 years that the worship was discontinued.






Rajnath calls up Prachanda

Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

The
BJP has urged Nepal Government to intervene in the Pashupatinath temple
stand-off and save the decades old cultural bond between India and
Nepal.

Party chief Rajnath Singh called up Nepal’s President
Ram Baran Yadav and Maoist-turned Prime Minister Prachanda on Saturday
seeking their immediate intervention to resolve the crisis. “Both have
assured me that they will look into the matter and take necessary
steps,” Rajnath said here.



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