Temple rivalry leads to royal visit cancellation

December 4th, 2008 - 9:29 am ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 4 (IANS) The visit of the Duke of Edinburgh to a Hindu temple in Leicester on Thursday has been cancelled after the Buckingham Palace came to know it was under investigation into how it is run and of faction fighting within the temple administration.The duke is accompanying Queen Elizabeth on a day-long visit to the county Thursday. The Queen has three engagements in the city, while the duke was to have met faith leaders at the Shree Hindu Temple.

A Palace spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the Duke of Edinburgh will no longer be visiting the Shree Temple in Leicester…as there is an on-going investigation by the Charities Commission into the business operations of the temple.”

A spokesperson for the Commission, which regulates UK charities, said: “Concerns have been brought to the attention of the Charities Commission about the administration and management of the Shree Hindu temple and Community Centre.”

The temple management is divided into two factions. One of the factions had written to the Palace, accusing the conduct of the rival faction members. It is learnt that the Palace did not want the duke to witness any overt protests between the factions during his visit.

Two days back the local police and council bosses and the diocese of Leicester tried to rectify the rift and called a meeting of both factions. The faction currently overseeing the temple administration attended the meeting, but the rival faction did not. It claimed it was uninvited. Its representative, Minesh Patel, said his group was sorry if its action of sending a letter to the Palace had caused cancellation of the visit.

The managing faction, led by general secretary Rashmi Joshi, countered: “Who sends a letter to the palace like that just before a royal visit and says they didn’t mean it?”

The cancellation of the visit led the Leicester Council of Faiths and the Leicestershire Lieutenancy - the Queen’s representative in the county - to say they were disappointed that the problem within the temple had led to the duke cancelling the temple visit.

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