Row in Nepal over sacking of Indian priests at Pashupatinath

via published on December 30, 2008

KATHMANDU: The government’s decision to sack South Indian priests from the Pashupatinath Temple in the capital has sparked a row in Nepal, with the main Opposition party accusing the Maoists of hurting “the religious sentiments” of the Hindus in the country.

The Nepali Congess, the second largest party in the country, has raised serious objections on the Maoist-led government’s move to remove South Indian Brahmins from capital’s famous Pashupatinath Temple, one of the eight holiest Hindu shrines, and appointing local priests in their place.

Nepali Congress (NC) alleged that it was done in a hurry without going through proper process and formalities.

“The way Maoist government replaced the priests serving at the Pashupatinath Temple without fulfilling any formality has hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindu people of Nepal,” said NC chief Laxman Ghimire in the Parliament yesterday.

He said the removal of the priests on the basis of a personal decision of the member seretary of the Pashupati Area Development Trust is violation of rules and a blow to the Hindu sentiments in the country, where overwhelming majority of the people are Hindus.

“The decision to sack the priests by changing the centuries-old tradition should have done through the cabinet,” he said.

Sujata Koirala, central committed member of NC and daughter of party president Girija Prasad Koirala, said the Maoists’ move to sack the priests of the temple has led to negative impact on the mind of the people and it shows that the ruling party is against the age-old tradition and culture
of the country.

“The people have become suspicious about their intention after the Maoists’ attack on the age old tradition,” she said yesterday.

The Maoist government has sacked three South Indian priests including chief Priest Mahabaleshwor Bhatta and appointed Bishnu Dahal as head of the temple.

There has been South Indian Priests since the time of Malla Kings in 1747 AD.

Two other South Indian priests, who are yet to submit their resignation have also been asked to follow suit by the authorities.

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