Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nepal SC stays order ending Indians' monopoly at Pashupatinath

Nepal SC stays order ending Indians' monopoly at Pashupatinath

Shirish B Pradhan 
Kathmandu, May 21 (PTI) Nepal's Supreme Court today stayed a government regulation aimed at ending the 300-year old monopoly of Indian priests at the famed Pashupatinath temple, one of the holiest Hindu shrines.

Under the new regulation framed by Ministry of Culture and State Restructure on May 4, any qualified person without any nationality bar could become priest in the temple, with the selection made through written tests and interviews.

The Supreme Court issued a stay order to maintain status quo on the issue in response to a Public Interest Litigation filed by Bharat Jangam, a local resident.

The PIL sought an Interim Order against the new regulation introduced by Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), claiming that its enforcement violates the January one apex court order that allowed the temple aids to continue their age old practices.

The regulation had also fixed the salary and allowances to the priests and their aids, instead of giving them a share in the offerings made by devotees at the temple.

The Maoist government last year sacked the chief priest and other pujaris from south India, and appointed Nepalese priests to replace them, sparking protests. Prime Minister Prachanda, then revoked the decision. PTI


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