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Pashupatinath prevails over Nepal Maoists

In a pledge before Nepal's interim parliament, the Maoist leader said all controversial decisions made by the trust that governs the 17th century shrine would be withdrawn.

world Updated: Jan 07, 2009 19:45 IST

After a mounting row for nearly two weeks over Nepal's revered Pashupatinath temple that saw the Maoist government facing condemnation both at home and abroad, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' Wednesday bowed to the pressure.

In a pledge before Nepal's interim parliament, the Maoist leader said all controversial decisions made by the trust that governs the 17th century shrine would be withdrawn.

He also said that the four Indian priests at the temple, including the chief priest, who had submitted their resignations, would be asked to continue till new priests were appointed.

The capitulation came after the trust ousted the Indian priests and departed from a nearly 300-year-old tradition that had seen only priests from south India appointed at the temple, considered one of the holiest Hindu pilgrim sites.

Most of Nepal's main parties had flayed the Maoist government for the row and India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as Samajwadi Party had expressed their concern.

Bollywood icon Shabana Azmi, who met Prachanda Wednesday in her capacity as SAARC goodwill ambassador for uniting against HIV/AIDS and TB, also expressed concern at the dispute.