Indian origin chief priest of Nepal's holiest temple Pashupatinath, whose removal by the Maoist-led government sparked a row, may be on his way back to India following the authorities’ plea to the Supreme Court to vacate the stay on the appointment of local priests.
Despite facing severe criticism at home and abroad for the sacking of the Indian priests, Prachanda-led government has challenged an interim order of the apex court staying the controversial appointment of local brahmins on January 1.
The Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), a body headed by Maoist culture minister Gopal Kirati, to oversee the affairs of the temple, filed a writ petition in the apex court on Monday to vacate the stay that effectively bars the newly-appointed Nepalese priests.
Sacked head priest Mahabaleswor Bhatta said he wants to get away from the raging controversy and leave Nepal as soon as possible.
"Help me get out of this chaos," pleaded Bhatta, a resident of south India who has been the priest at the world famous Pashupatinath for the last 16 years.
"I was threatened by a group not to continue with my duties, while another wanted me to carry on. What can I do under the circumstances? I don’t want to get drawn into the vortex of this controversy," he was quoted as saying by The Himalayan Times online.
The top priest underlined that he had an unfinished task before he headed back home. He wanted to handover the temples belongings to the PADT.
As for the Supreme Court's stay order nullifying his sacking, Bhatta said though he had received a copy of the order only on Monday, he had little knowledge about the legal implications. In the violence that erupted after the former guerrillas stormed the shrine on Thursday, at least 10 people were injured.