Nepal     25.09.2015

Local Catholic sources informed the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need about a growing fear within the small Christian community in Nepal about their future security. On the night of September 14, 2015, three Protestant Churches were bombed in Eastern Nepal where the Christian population is more prevalent. Fortunately there were no deaths though some casualties. One of the bombs placed at a local Church failed to detonate but it exploded later at the police station injuring four police officers who were trying to defuse it. The incidents occurred just a few hours before a vote reaffirming Nepal as a secular country, rejecting a Constitutional amendment proposal by the Nepal’s RastriyaPrajatantra Party seeking to introduce an article into the Constitution restoring Nepal as a Hindu Nation.

Although no group has claimed responsibility for the incident, suspicion for the church attacks as the work of radical Hindus is supported by the fact that pamphlets of the extremist Hindu Morcha Nepal group were found at the scene. In these pamphlets they accuse the Nepalese government of being under the control of foreign agents and countries and that Christianity is the main cause leading the country into religious and ethnic conflict. The radicals categorically state that they will no longer tolerate any foreign Christian religious leaders coming into the country and vow to make Nepal a Christian-free country. The Hindu Morcha Nepal pamphlets stated: “We warn all foreign Christian religious leaders to leave this country immediately and we invite all those who have been converted into Christianity and have become Christian religious leaders to return to their ancestral religion” (Hindu). The police are investigating the incidents.

Nepal’s political landscape is tense. The promulgation of the Nepal’s new Constitution on September 20, the first to be written by elected representatives, affirms Nepal as a federal democratic republic with secular values. The majority of Nepalese celebrated by lighting candles and with cultural processions. Some political parties, however, representing ethnic minorities from Nepal’s southern and western plains bordering India are protesting over provincial boundaries resulting in violent protests that have continued for more than two weeks. To date more than 40 people have lost their lives.

The attack on churches, targeting the Christian community has generated renewed fears among the Christian minority. “We are praying and hoping that no more churches will be vandalized or bombed as the New Constitution is in favor of secularism. Meanwhile we are committed to continue our relief and restoration services to the most needy people of Nepal” remarked a source close to the Catholic Church in Nepal who requested anonymity.

Maria Lozano