Hindus pressure police to arrest 40 Christians in Nepal

June 23, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Nepal, June 18, 2014: Around 40 church leaders and members were arrested in Nepal, accused of forcibly converting Hindus, in an ominous threat to religious freedom in the country.

Nepal ChristiansThey were detained in Boudha on Friday (13 June) by police, who were pressured by Hindus to take action against the Christians.

A Hindu crowd gathered outside the jail and threatened a riot if the Christians were freed.

Most of the detainees were nevertheless released, but eight leaders were held in custody until Sunday (15 June).

On Saturday (14 June), a pastor in nearby Mulpani was threatened.

A Barnabas contact in Nepal said that Hindus are looking for arguments with Christians and trying to attack them, having been encouraged by their counterparts in India.

In a visit to Nepal from 30 May to 1 June, the vice president of India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won the country’s general election last month, urged senior Nepali leaders to outlaw religious conversion immediately.

Bhagat Singh Koshiyari spoke to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maoist party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, claiming that Western countries had been promoting proselytism in Nepal since it became a secular state in 2006. He called for religious conversion, particularly from Hinduism to Christianity, to be stopped, describing it as “illegal”.

Nepal ChristiansThe election of the BJP in India sparked alarm among its Christian minority. The party had already introduced “anti-conversion” laws in a number of states, which are regularly used as a pretext by Hindu extremists to attack Christians – whom they falsely accuse of converting people by force – and also to prevent legitimate Christian evangelism.

The party’s attempt to influence Nepal’s leaders to follow a similar path is extremely disconcerting, especially at a time when the Constituent Assembly is in the process of drafting a long-awaited new constitution. Christians are concerned that their rights and freedoms will not be upheld as Parliament comes under increasing pressure to restore the Hindu monarchy.

Hindu extremists in Nepal feel threatened by the fast growth of the country’s Church.

– barnabas team

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