For them, it wasn't just because of the death of a charismatic Hindu preacher who had mesmerised them with his oratory and erudition. It was also because the assassination brought to fore the simmering tension between different Hindu groups; the attempts of the RSS and its affiliates to curry favour with the palace; and the clash of varying worldviews symbolised by the Maoists and political Hindu groups.
Unknown in India, Pokhrel boasted a veritable cult following here. Utilising his enviable oratorical skills, and his knowledge of the Puranas and the Upanishads, the 48-year-old preacher mobilised massive resources to build schools, hospitals, orphanages and roads in rural Nepal. Such was his charisma that his mesmerised audience would rise in unison and dance to bhajans and kirtans. Out of trance, they would compete with each other to donate money to the project Pokhrel had announced at a religious gathering.