Indian leaders wrap up two-day visit

Kathmandu, January 5:

Top leaders of India’s Samajwadi Party wrapped up their two-day visit today, dismayed by the controversy surrounding priests at the Pashupatinath Temple and warning of ominous signs.

Talking briefly to reporters at Nepali Congress leader Sujata Koirala’s private residence, Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and general secretary Amar Singh said they had felt bad about the controversy.

Singh said they felt bad for not being able to offer prayers at the temple of Pashupatinath due to the controversy, undermining the long-held traditions. Both leaders said that they had felt sad and conveyed their feelings to the Prime Minister when them met him in the morning. He assured us that the government would respect the Supreme Court decision on the issue, they said.

“I will come again to offer my prayers to the temple once the worship begin in accordance with the long-held rituals,” Singh added.

In their meeting with the Prime Minister, Yadav and Singh said that they wanted to see consolidation of democracy in Nepal.

Terming Nepal-India relation as cordial, Yadav said he wanted to see bilateral relations grow further at all levels.

Deputy Prime Minister and home Minister Bam Dev Gautam also briefed the media about Indian leaders’ meeting with the PM.

According to Gautam, the PM told Singh and Yadav that the government would abide by the Supreme Court’s recent stay order.

The court has directed the government to put the appointments of Nepali priests on hold until the court does not give a final verdict on the controversy.

Gautam said PM would consult the Attorney General on how the Indian priests could be reinstated as they had resigned from their posts and their resignations had already been accepted.

Both the Indian leaders also met NC president Girija Prasad Koirala. Koirala, after interacting with the Singh and Yadav said the government’s attack on cultural aspects of life was an attack on democracy itself. He said it was an arbitrary and even a criminal act to replace Indian priests without the approval of the cabinet.

Koirala, however, said he would not let anybody including the Maoists to derail the peace process.