Nepal opposition’s youth wing to take on Maoists over Pashupatinath

January 5th, 2009 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Jan 5 (IANS) The youth wing of Nepal’s main opposition party Monday joined the fray over the ouster of Indian priests at the revered Pashupatinath temple, saying they were ready to cross swords with the Maoists.Mahendra Yadav, chief of Nepal Tarun Dal, the youth wing of former prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s Nepali Congress party, Monday issued a statement saying his organisation was ready to wage a struggle for faith.

Yadav said action should be taken against Maoist Minister for Culture and State Restructuring Gopal Kiranti for his refusal to reinstate the Indian priests despite the order given by the Supreme Court, as well as the newly appointed Nepali priests and the Young Communist League, the strong arm of the Maoists who had allegedly attacked temple staff Sunday.

The controversy erupted Dec 28 after the government announced that three of the five Indian priests appointed in the Pashupatinath temple have resigned and the trust has appointed two Nepalis in their place.

Since the 18th century, Nepal has been following the tradition of appointing priests from southern India. Brahmins of the region are renowned for knowledge of intricate Vedic rituals.

On Sunday, a fourth Indian priest resigned, leaving only one more Indian priest, who is currently on leave.

Three separate groups of people filed applications at Nepal’s Supreme Court, calling the new appointments illegal and asking for a stay order.

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