Row stops worship at Nepal’s Pashupatinath temple

January 1st, 2009 - 9:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Jan 1 (IANS) For the first time in the history of Nepal’s revered Pashupatinath temple, devotees were unable to offer worship to the centuries-old deity after a row erupted between the trust that looks after the shrine and the priests, marking an inauspicious start to the New Year.The dispute that began last month with the three Indian priests submitting their resignation under pressure, allegedly from the Maoist government, and the Pashupatinath Area Development Trust (PADT) appointing two Nepali priests in their place reached a climax on New Year’s day with the Supreme Court stepping in.

The apex court ordered the PADT to stay the new appointments after four helpers of the Indian priests, known as Rajbhandaris, Wednesday filed a petition in the court, alleging that the trust had overridden all procedures to make political appointments.

The Rajbhandaris locked the gate of the main shrine to stop the two new Nepali priests from taking over Thursday.

However, PADT officials forced open the locks and made the new priests go in, creating a tumult.

A large number of security personnel were rushed to the spot as tension simmered in the area and devotees, for the first time in Nepal’s history, were unable to offer their worship in what is being construed by the people as a bad omen.

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