Locals residing around Pashupatinath Temple stage protests

Kathmandu – The locals residing in the surrounding of the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu have been taking to street calling for a number of reforms including overhaul of the Pashupati Area Development Trust. The Pashupati Area Joint Struggle Committee has been launching sit-in protest, black out among other protest programmes since last Sunday.

The locals had been opposing the Pashupatinath Temple Master Plan and demanding the resignation of some of the officer-bearers in the Trust. Committee’s coordinator Aashman Sangat demanded that the Trust should have representatives from Kathmandu Metropolitan City ward no 8, the State assembly member representing the same constituency and federal parliamentarian as ex-officio members.

Claiming that the Trust had built modern structures in and around the Pashupatinath Temple undermining the archeological and religious significance of the place, a World Heritage Site. They have called on the Trust for keeping the Bankali Dharmashala closed for so long which it could be brought into operation after minor maintenance and trading the pious land of the Hindu shrine for commercial purposes.

Another coordinator of the Struggle Committee Krishnaman Shrestha lashed out that the Trust was intending to build a modern building replacing the already existing structures in the areas of the (present day) Temple that dates back to the 15th century. He claimed that the Masterplan introduced by the Trust in 2056 BS was incomplete and the Trust had removed 360 houses in 2059 BS while the country was witnessing emergency.

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation had already directed the Trust to make public the progress review of the Masterplan from 2056 BS to 2066 BS. The Struggle Committee claimed that the Trust has not made public the progress review of the Trust’s Masterplans introduced time to time to streamline the Temple affairs and manage its areas.

Ministry’s spokesperson Kamal Prasad Bhattarai said that the Trust’s masterplan was under study. Preparation was underway to hold consultation with the locals and people’s representatives to submit the report at the earliest.