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4/2/2011 Nepal (AsiaNews) – Nepali Christian leaders have been on a rotating fast for the past elevan days to get the government to agree to a burial place for Christians. The protest began on 23 March in front of Ratna Park in the heart of Kathmandu. It followed a large demonstration on 20 March by thousands of Christians who marched with empty coffins in front of government offices. Despite promises, the authorities have not heeded Christian demands; instead, they have urged them to buy land with their own money.

In recent years, Kathmandu has seen a great deal of real estate speculation. This has limited the amount of land available to Christians and other minorities for cemeteries, forcing them to bury their dead on top of one another in the same tomb.

To solve the problem, the authorities in 2009 granted Christians the Shleshmantak forest near the Hindu temple of Pashupatinath.

The decision sparked protests by Hindus across the country, forcing the local government to ban burials in the forest.

More recently, the Supreme Court lifted the ban, but police and temple authorities continue to prevent burials in the area.

Sunder Thapa, who organised the protest and is in charge of the Christian Advisory Committee for the New Constitution, said that the hunger strike would continue if the government continues to ignore Christian requests.

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