Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Saturday said India had taken up with Nepal the attack on two Indian priests by Maoists at the Pashupathinath temple on Friday in Kathmandu.

Two newly appointed priests at the temple hailing from Karnataka were beaten up by a group of Maoists who were reportedly angry over continuing the practice of appointing only Indian priests in the temple.

The Minister said: “We are aware of the attack and are in touch with the Nepal government. We are also in touch with the Pashupati Area Development Trust. They have enhanced security around the temple and also provided enough security to priests in the area where they stay.”

Mr. Krishna noted that it was a tradition in that temple to allow Indian priests to perform pujas. Similar tradition existed in Kashi where priests from Nepal perform pujas.

The two priests, Girish Bhatta and Raghavendra Bhatta, were performing religious rituals when they were attacked by the Maoists armed with rods and sticks.

On the attacks on Indian students in Australia, Mr. Krishna said no incidents of attack had been reported ever since he discussed the issue with the Australian authorities recently.

“I must say this is a positive development,” he said and commended the efforts of the Australian Prime Minister and Governors of New South Wales and Victoria for ensuring security of Indian students.