Indian Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood on Saturday regretted that religion - which brings the people of India and Nepal together - was under fire on the ground of nationality. He was reacting to the assault on two Indian priests at the famed Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu.
"God doesn't belong to any country. Religion and nationality should be kept separate. There are Hindus all over the world," said Sood, who offered prayers at the shrine jointly with Nepal's Culture Minister Minendra Rijal in a show of bilateral amity.
The Indian envoy said he had conveyed the concern of his government to Nepal.
"Perhaps the protesters are not fully aware of the traditions of Pashupatinath and Hinduism," Sood said. "There are Nepali priests at the Badrinath, Kedarnath and Kashi shrines of India.
"The priests who offer the daily aarti (ritual of lamps) at the Dashashwamedha Ghat in Varanasi are Nepalis."
The priests - Girish Bhatta and Raghavendra Bhatta, who were appointed from Karnataka on Wednesday, were attacked on Friday, stripped naked and beaten up inside the temple by a mob that came in the guise of worshippers.
While Girish Bhatta has been appointed to perform the traditional worship at the north gate shrine here, Raghavendra Bhatta will conduct the daily rituals at the temple of Vasuki, described in Hindu epics as the great snake.