NEW DELHI – Hindu priests who look after the memorial of Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi conducted a purification ceremony at the shrine after a visit from President Bush. But it wasn't the president who offended them, it was the sniffer-dogs who scoured the area ahead of his visit.
After the dog visit, the memorial was cleansed with water brought from the Ganges River, which Hindus consider holy, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported Sunday.
Bush visited the memorial on Thursday during his three-day visit to India. The site, where pacifist icon Gandhi was cremated, is considered sacred and all visitors, including Bush and his wife, Laura, removed their shoes before going in.
The dogs, flown in from the United States, were part of the intense security surrounding the president, but the Hindu priests believe they tainted the site.
Letting dogs into the memorial also drew sharp protest from Hindu politicians and Gandhi's great grandson, Tushar Gandhi, who called the incident a "national shame," the Press Trust of India news agency reported.