January 06, 2005

Indian authorities demolish Pashupatinath Temple in New Delhi


Authorities in New Delhi, India, have demolished the "Pashupatinath Temple" in the Indian capital, a leading English daily in Nepal reported Thursday.

A bulldozer from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), escorted by dozens of policemen, Wednesday pulled down the temple which stood on the banks of the Yamuna River for the last forty years. Dozens of devotees visited the temple almost every morning, The Kathmandu Post (TKP) reported.

"By 12 pm, Wednesday, the 'Nepali Mandir' had been reduced to rubble and the three-feet-tall five-faced Shiva Lingam was nowhere to be seen. The only surviving items were a small Shiva Lingam, a statue of Goddess Durga and a plastic stool the temple priest used for prayers," the TKP report said.

The Delhi-based Royal Nepalese Embassy, the TKP report said, had made verbal as well as written request to Indian Authorities to protect the temple but the DDA demolished the temple, along with a number of "illegally constructed" constructions on the banks of the river, in line with an order of the Supreme Court of India issued in May 2003, to remove encroachment on the river banks.

However, according to the report, the caretakers of the Nepali temple say that the land where the temple stood was legally registered. "We are extremely hurt and outraged by the ruthlessness of Delhi authorities," the daily quoted Nilkantha Sharma, the 54-year-old priest of the temple, as saying.

The report also said that the caretakers of the temple are thinking to move the court against the demolition. "We are not going to stay put," the report quoted Prem Chhetri, an advocate of Nepali origin whose ancestors moved to India from Koshi Zone, "We, too, are going to move the Supreme Court, seeking adequate compensation for the damage, and allocation of a piece of land in the city, where we can reinstate our great deity." nepalnews.com amt Dec 30 04

A VHP supporter added "What else you can expect from a Christian Super PM Soniya Gandhi ?"

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