09/22/2006, 00.00
INDIA
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Mathura: Hindu priest sacked for dressing Krishna in jeans

Anand Kishore Goswami, head priest of Banke Bihari Mandir temple, was captured by local television as he dressed a statue of the god in jeans and a t-shirt, with a cell phone in hand, instead of his ritual flute.

Lucknow (AsiaNews/ICNS) – Authorities in one of India's oldest and most respected temples dedicated to Krishna have sacked the head priest for dressing up a statue of the deity in jeans and a T-shirt and donning him with a mobile phone.

The authorities of Banke Bihari Mandir temple in Mathura city in north India fired Anand Kishore Goswami and accused him of violating religious rules and hurting the religious sentiments of the people.

This act of desecration was revealed by local TV cameras that captured the priest as he dressed the statue. The footage drew the wrath of other priests there, of political parties and of Hindu organisations who accused him of denigrating the image of Krishna.

The man under fire said he had dressed up Lord Krishna because of his "perpetual love" for the god, adding that the god's new style should be viewed as just another 'avatar' (reincarnation) of Krishna.

The Goswami family traditionally runs the temple and its members assume the head priest's role by rotation, but they have even been forbidden to unlock the gates.

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