Saturday, September 5, 2009

India fumes over assault on Indian priests in Nepal

India fumes over assault on Indian priests in Nepal

PTI 5 September 2009, 01:41pm IST

BANGALORE: India on Saturday said it has taken up with Nepal the Pashupatinath temple incident in which two Indian priests were yesterday thrashed, their clothes torn and sacred thread cut by dozens of Maoists who stormed the temple protesting their recent appointment.

"We are in touch with the Government of Nepal," External Affairs Minister S K Krishna told reporters on Saturday on being asked about the incident.

Indian Ambassador Rakesh Sood has taken up the matter in Kathmandu with Nepal Home Minister Bhim Bahadur Rawal and Culture Minister Sarat Singh Bhandari who assured him that steps will be taken to ensure safety of the priests.

"We are also in touch with the Pashupatinath Area Development Trust and they have enhanced the security around the temple and they have provided enough security to the priests where they stay and where they operate," Krishna said.

After the incident, Nepal government provided a personal security officer to the head priest of the temple and a platoon of armed police was deployed at the shrine.

The minister said India was aware that "there is Maoist pressure on the temple authorities to prevent the Indian priests from conducting religious ceremonies".

Some 40-50 Maoists, posing as devotees, barged into the 5th century Hindu shrine at around 1.30 pm and broke open the door of a room where the priests -- Girish Bhatta and Raghavendra Bhatta -- were preparing for daily prayers.


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