Persecution in Nepal: Fact or Fiction?

[ 2 ] April 12, 2010 |

janakNepal has reached a new dimension in the journey of secular democracy. However, we have to consider our strides in this process of establishing a perfect democratic system. After the Royal massacre occurred in Nepal on Friday, June 1, 2001, the entire nation has become a ball kicked by different politicians in different directions. And this has become a catastrophe to the Nepalese masses. Ever since the death of the King Birendra, the country has been facing the leadership crisis. T

The political parties are usurping the throne in turns but to the utter disappointment of many they couldn’t keep it for a long time. After a long process of the hide and seek, finally the communist party of Maoist came into the power in Nepal in 2006 and took control over the political scenario which turned to be failure. It is followed by another communist group, along with the help of some other political parties. Multi-party system has given an immense freedom to Nepalese to form new political parties but this very freedom has proved to be disastrous for the country.
What happened during 10 years of conflict?
Please do not misunderstand me here! I find difficult to convey the sense of truth which I consider as it should be. Friends, I respect your sentiments very much and also ensure within myself that I will not go against my conscious by not presenting the facts to the people at large. Many a time, we provoke our fellow non-Christian brothers and sisters by giving wrong notion about the persecution which we all need to discourage in our land. At the same time, I do want to empathize to our Christian friends who have been victimized during course of civil war in Nepal.
What people from outside view about Christianity? (I asked this very question to my foreign friends. And let me conclude their responses into two frameworks)
1. As a Hindu country (However it’s not now!) there is a high time for Christians to keep their faith.
2. Maoists have become the real obstacles for Christianity.
I decline both facts since I don’t find any ground of such claims in present scenario. Most probably both these groups will be hindrances for the Christianity in near future. But since last decade, neither Hinduism nor the Maoist had been a real problem to the Christianity. There are some diplomatic reasons why Maoist has softened their attitude toward the Christians.
1. They are well aware with the growth of Christianity. Their softness could be a strategy to attract Christianity into their fold.
2. Their real agenda is the political struggle which has to do with government not with the Christians. Who will bother about Christians in midst of the political struggle?
These are the simple reasons why Maoist didn’t come up against Christianity during the course of civil war. This doesn’t mean that there was not even a single attack from Maoist. Of course, there was. Maoists reportedly attacked Christian schools, orphanages and houses in search of boys as conscripts for their army. Some expatriates and national missionaries have reportedly given orders to leave the areas where they work. Here I stand as a victim of the Maoist attack. I fled to India, not because I had to save my beliefs rather I didn’t want to join with them. That’s all. But most of the attack has to do with the personal reasons rather than witnessing Christ. If Maoist has found anyone creating obstacles in their movement or if any Christians (actually it doesn’t matter to the Maoist that which religion he/she comes from) came in middle of their fight with government, of course he/she can become the victim of Maoist. If this is the case then we should not call it as a persecution rather he or she is a political victim.
Let us not dilute the word ‘persecution’. Many times our Christian friends use God’s provision as a matter of personal glorification. This also gives Maoist enough reasons to go and demand money from church and Christian institution, which they did in many places. If you refused in giving the money, perhaps you could have seen the result too? There is no need of sympathy for such Christians who conducts themselves in such a way that they provoke others. Let me go back to Hinduism! This is a right issue to address! I have seen severe persecution from Hinduism in India than in Nepal. The issue of Orissa, Karnataka, Maharasta and Chattisgarh is still fresh in my mind. Hindu fundamentalists are clearly behind these persecutions. Friends! The issue of Orissa has been politicized and real victims have been neglected from the scene. The impact of Maoist, however could be seen into the entire section of Hindu platform. Ideologically Maoist has dominated Hinduism in some extend and led them to be less orthodox than 30 years ago. It’s going to be four years since Nepal had become a secular democratic nation. We don’t have a danger now but we can sense some notions of danger from these two factors.
Christianity in Nepal now and then?
This is another important point to retrospect. There was a vibrant spirit in Christianity during monarchy. We still read the testimony of the great Christian heroes who faced trials in prison and courts for the sake of gospel nevertheless, the church didn’t stop its mission rather it flourished with passion for God’s love. Somehow the democracy came up in Nepal, followed by people’s power with secularism. Freedom prevailed in the nation in different way. Now, you can freely share gospel with any police officer or parliament members. This is not to mean that freedom has become the hindrances for Christian people to share the gospel. Daniel! I think you asked this question yesterday. And I am sorry that I was not able to clarify your doubts! My heart beats with this news when I hear about the persecution in China, Viatnam and Muslim countries. How people are worshiping God from the underground churches. People may not be fluent in theological language but they are fluent in the faith of God. When I compare Nepal with some of these scenes, I come in conclusion that we are not under persecution.

 
A glimpse of persecution in Nepal
Some of the Hindu extremists groups are planning to restore the Hindu nation in Nepal. Though Nepal became secular in 2006, Hinduism still gets preferential treatment. The state allocates funds for institutions like the Kumari, the tradition of choosing prepubescent girls as protective deities of the state and worshipping them as “living goddesses.” The state also gave money to organizers of a controversial, five-yearly religious festival, the Gadhimai Fair, where tens of thousands of birds are slaughtered as offerings to Hindu gods despite international condemnation. See these all shows that it’s not tough task for extremist group to restore the Hinduism. NDA (National Defence Army) was behind the bomb blast in one of the Christian institute in June, 2009. They said in a note that ‘all Christians are spies’. They threatened some of the churches too. Other than this there is not much direct persecution news that we come across. But I can see the dangers from both sides. i.e. Maoist (if they came to power with majority they will show the real colour as we can see in China) and Hindus ( who knows that one day Nepal can become like Orissa) . This is the challenge to the Nepalese Christians to come into the fold of unity and strive for the gospel for the glory of God alone.

 

 

-Janak BC, Pune

Republished in new layout on 8/9/2013

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