Pashupatinath committee recommends two Indians for priests


Nepal's Pashupatinath temple

The board of the Pashpatinath Area Development Trust (PADT), headed by Culture Minister Minendra Rijal, recommended to the prime minister the appointment of Girish Bhatta and Raghamendra Bhatta as priests at the temple. Both the candidates are from the state of Karnataka. The temple has a tradition of appointing south Indian priests.

The recommendation has been forwarded to Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who is the patron of the trust, and awaits final approval from him, Narattam Vaidya, treasurer of the trust said.

The announcement came amidst a fresh row as pro-Maoist activists stormed the building of the shrine's managing committee and locked its main office on Sunday to foil the recruitment of the new Indian priests. The Maoists have been opposed to the appointment of Indian priests and have demanded that locals be recruited for the job.

"Some 300 Maoists stormed into Pashupati Temple's main office building at 10.30 am and locked all doors including my office from outside before any staff entered," Sushil Nahata, member secretary of PADT said. Nepal's Minister for Culture and Parliamentary Affairs Rijal criticised the act as an "improper action".

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