A global outfit of Hindus on Sunday joined the row over the Maoist government removing the revered Pashupatinath temple's Indian priests, saying the former guerrillas were trying to capture the deity's treasure that is said to contain fabulous jewels and other riches.
Bhola Jha, a senior official of the World Hindu Federation, flayed the Maoist government's plan to lead a nationwide foot-march from Monday to defuse the religious row, saying the former guerrilla party was trying to push its own people in the temple.
Jha said the Maoists were aiming to control the revenue earned by the temple - that runs into five figures daily - and strengthen their party.
The federation, that had in the past supported monarchy in Nepal, is now demanding the restoration of Hinduism as the state religion.
The Hindu organisation has members worldwide and enjoys close ties with India's rightwing Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has already condemned the row and asked Nepal's Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' not to drag the Hindu deity into a political dispute.