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Mulayam Singh tells Prachanda to resolve Pashupatinath crisis

The Samajvadi Party also on Monday termed the problem as a bad omen and requested the Nepal government to resolve it immediately.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2009 20:08 IST
Anirban Roy
Anirban Roy
Hindustan Times

After BJP's anger over the controversial issue on appointment of Nepali priests at Pashupatinath temple, the Samajvadi Party also on Monday termed the problem as a bad omen and requested the Nepal government to resolve it immediately.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and General Secretary Amar Singh met Prime Minister Prachanda on Monday and requested the Nepal government to save the holiest temple of Nepal from nasty political hostilities.

The two SP leaders reached Kathmandu on Sunday afternoon on an invitation from Nepal's President Ram Baran Yadav and held a series of meetings with leaders of different political parties.

Mulyan Singh also told Prachanda to douse the tension over the appointment at Lord Pashupatinath temple at the earliest as the pro-royalist forces may take advantage in such a fluid political situation.

Common people have also taken serious note of the decision to remove the Indian priests. For more than 320 years, the priests from India have been performing the main religious rituals.

Since the rule of the Malla kings in Nepal, the priests from Karnataka were being brought to Kathmandu to perform the religious rituals in Pashupatinath temple.

The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), a Hindu rights group, on Monday staged a nationwide strike to protest the dispute at Pashupatinath temple. Protests were
successfully carried out for almost two hours in various cities.

In Kathmandu, the group disrupted vehicular movement at Gaushala for two hours from 10 am at Gaushala area. The group began a protest demonstration from the western gate of Pashupatinath temple and marched to Gaushala crossroads and blocked the traffic. The protesters chanted slogans against the Maoist-led government.

"We will not tolerate any more political interference on religious matters," Umesh Khanal, chairman of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh told Hindustan Times.

Khanal said they would fight tooth-and-nail to save the holiest temple of the Himalayan nation from being politicized. "If required, we will have to take up arms to save Lord Pashupatinath," he said.

Khanal threatened to continue with the protest and appealed to all devout Hindu Nepalis to stand up against the growing incidents of political interferences in religious matters. The government-backed yatra for religious concord began on Monday from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport. People taking part in the march would traverse across the country and would spread the message of religious harmony.

Unfortunately, because of the ongoing political war over the control of functioning of Lord Pashupatinath temple, the daily religious rituals have suffered as the locals claimed that the new priests did not have the experience to perform different pujas.

"They (new priests) did not perform nitya puja and shriyantra puja because they don't know how to perform them," Ram Chandra Upadhaya, a local at Pashupatinath temple, said.

The Maoist-led government came under more pressure over the Pashupatinath temple controversy after the cadres of its Young Communist League (YCL) stormed the temple premises on Sunday evening and beat up priests and journalists.

The YCL cadres beat up the priests because they had called for a press conference at the temple premises to register their protest against the Maoist-led government.

First Published: Jan 05, 2009 20:07 IST