Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao visits Pashupatinath temple

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao visits Pashupatinath temple

A temple official, right, presents a replica of the Pashupatinath temple to Indian Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, left as Indian ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood, center looks on during a visit by the former in Katmandu, Nepal on Tuesday. AP

Rao, who is on a two-day visit to Nepal, offered prayers at the temple in the morning and met officials of the Pashupati Area Development Trust. However, Rao did not meet the two priests who were attacked by Maoists. "I came here to worship Pashupatinath to get his blessings. I always come to Pashupatinath Temple whenever I visit Kathmandu," she told reporters.

"I pray for his blessings and benedictions to shower on the people of Nepal, with whom we share close ties of friendship and partnership," she said. Indian Ambassador Rakesh Sood and other senior officials also accompanied Rao to the temple ahead of her meeting with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

Pashupati Area Development Trust Member Secretary Shushil Nahata and Treasurer Narottam Vaidya briefed Rao about the latest situation in the temple. On September four, a group of Maoists barged into the temple and assaulted Girish Bhatta and Raghavendra Bhatta, both 32 and hailing from Karnataka. The Maoists were protesting against the recent appointment of Indian priests. Indian government had condemned the attack on the two priests as an "unprovoked and criminal" act.

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