Krishna, who met Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and held talks with deputy premier Sujata Koirala on Friday, said he had taken up with the Nepalese leadership the issue of the safety of Indian priests and others who come for pilgrimage to Pashupatinath temple.
“They are supremely safe,” Krishna, who is here on a three-day visit, said when asked whether he was satisfied by the security measures.
“I talked to them (the priests who were attacked). They said they are protected and treated well and feel quite comfortable,” he told reporters after visiting the temple along with Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and other Indian officials.
Two priests–Girish Bhatt and Raghavendra Bhatt belonging to Krishna’s home state Karnataka–were severely thrashed and their clothes and sacred thread cut in an attack by dozens of Maoists in September 2009. The priests were badly injured in the incident, which had evoked concern and sharp reaction from the Indian government.
Krishna said the head priest of the temple told him that it has been a year since he resigned but he was not able to return to India because people here wanted him to stay.
“This is a sure sign that things are improving. Let us all contribute to it,” the minister said.
Describing Pashupatinath temple as a “symbol of deep-rooted civilisational ties”, he said, “safety and security of Indian citizens who come here as pilgrims is the abiding concern of the government of India.”