Kathmandu, November 24:

A group of persons demolished the crematorium for Buddhist monks and nuns at Swoyambhu last night. The crematorium site was renovated last month.

While Home Minister Krishna Sitaula had on October 26 initiated the renovation process, the design for the new crematorium was provided by the Department of Archaeology.

The site is being used for the purpose for around a century. However, recently there was a row over the ownership of the land. Locals have encroached on it along the Bhoshakhushi rivulet to sell plots at hefty prices, volunteers of the Prabajit Dip Nirman Samiti (PDNS) said today.

A UML leader, Krishna Gopal Shrestha, who is also an advisor to the PDNS, said the demolition is a “heinous crime.”

“Taking a step against the home minister’s initiative is a challenge to the government and its security. We must take it seriously as regressive forces may be mobilising the locals,” he said. He was speaking at a press briefing held to publicise the incident.

“It is hooliganism. We know the local hooligans who are behind this incident. However, we will not act in the same manner. Rather, we will meet the culture minister, the Speaker and other officials and seek justice,” he said.

He also sought action against Champa Lama, a UML activist, for “his involvement” in the “crime.”

Former minister of state Tirtha Ram Dangol said the incident has raised doubts over the law and order situation. Senior advocate Sarbagya Ratna Tuladhar said that it was “unwise” on the part of the locals to demolish the crematorium.