The main opposition CPN-UML obstructed House proceedings over allegations of corruption against the then KP Sharma Oli government while installing golden jalahari (a structure used to pour milk and water on Shivalinga) at the Pashupatinath Temple.
CPN (Maoist Center) House of Representatives (HoR) member Lekh Nath Dahal speaking during the meeting on Wednesday had claimed that the Oli government had kept brass jalahari instead of golden jalahari.
Nobody had paid attention to Dahal’s comment but UML suddenly protested against the accusation during the House meeting on Friday and demanded that the expression be removed from the record. They shouted slogans and also demanded that Dahal should either apologize for his remarks or the jalahari should be tested to determine whether it is made of gold or not.
The House was scheduled to continue discussion on the government’s policies and programs on Friday and Prime Minister (PM) the Pushpa Kamal Dahal was to answer the questions raised during the discussion.
But UML lawmakers obstructed House proceedings over the issue. They went to the well of the House and chanted slogans after Speaker Dev Raj Ghimire allowed Maoist Chief Whip Hit Raj Pandey to speak.
The then Oli government had installed a jalahari with 96 kilograms of gold at the temple on February 24, 2021 even as the Supreme Court (SC) had already been moved to prevent that. The government had said 12 kilograms of gold would be added later.
The SC had issued an interim order on the day the jalahari was installed to stop the work pointing that nothing can be added or removed from archaeological heritage.
Setopati talked with Executive Director at the Pashupati Area Development Trust Ghanashyam Khatiwada about the issue after UML’s House obstruction on Wednesday. He revealed that the jalahari installed at the temple then had 108 kilograms of gold.
He claimed that brass was not mixed in the jalahari and added that 108 kilograms of gold was procured from the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) for the purpose. “I don’t know if the NRB had adulterated. We can take it out and test if there is doubt,” he pointed.
He added that one kilogram of silver and 500 grams of copper were added to make the jalahari strong. “Nothing else apart from that has been mixed.”
The Office of the Auditor General’s (OAG) 59th annual report had also raised questions about the jalahari. The report had not raised questions about the structure with 96.822 kilograms of gold but pointed that details have not been submitted to prove that the said 10.976 kilograms of gold was used in the ring put around the jalahari.