Christian Persecution in Nepal and Bhutan

ICC Note:

There is little news about Christians being persecuted in Bhutan and Nepal. This story sheds light on the journey of  the persecuted Christians that come from both Nepal and Bhutan and their search for religious freedom.

10/17/2012 Nepal/Bhutan (TheTelegraph) – Members of Nepali Samarpan Baptist Church have traveled a long road to where they are today — a road they say has been filled with tribulations and pain but also with joy in God’s faithfulness.

Church member Mani Biswa, who often translates for others in the fellowship, said Nepali Samarpan Baptist is a congregation of native Bhutanese Christians who are Nepali by heritage.

Bhutan and Nepal are located between eastern India and China.

Biswa said Nepalese workers were welcomed to Bhutan in the 1800s. Through the 1900s their numbers grew, but by 1980 under Bhutan’s absolute monarchy rights began being taken away and persecution toward Nepali Bhutanese grew. As turmoil increased, Nepali Bhutanese sought renewed rights. Instead, in 1990 they began being forced from the country, leaving homes and lives with nowhere to go.

International onlookers such as the Human Rights Watch said it amounted to simple ethnic cleansing.

The church’s pastor is Purna Biswa.

Pastor Biswa and Mani Biswa are not close relatives, though the two say they are close brothers in Christ. Mani Biswa translates for Pastor Biswa. Pastor Bsiwa’s oldest son, Gopal Biswa, also translates.

Pastor Biswa said Nepali Christians suffered double persecution in Bhutan and ongoing persecution in the refugee camps. He said his journey to the U.S. was for religious freedom and to find a better life.

“The Bhutanese are Buddhist and Nepalese Hindu,” he said through Mani Biswa. “Both hate Christians.

The Bhutanese hate and persecute the Nepalese because they are Hindu. The Bhutanese and the Nepalese both hate and persecute Christians. I was born Hindu but became a Christian when I was a young man.”

Biswa said he gave his life to Jesus and has fulfilled his promise to serve him but at a cost.

“Most of my family and neighbors rejected me,” he said. “They said you are Christian and we don’t want to hear you. Some came to Christ but most would not listen. I pray some day they will hear and listen.”

Pastor Biswa said he was baptized quietly inside a home for fear of fellow Nepali and the Bhutanese. He said he received threats of jail and threats to his life.

Pastor Biswa said he was a “normal” Christian in Bhutan but became a pastor while in the refugee camps of Nepal. His son Gopal said his father planted many churches and led many to Christ in the camps, but persecution followed.

“When we left Bhutan, there was heat and hunger, disease and dysentery in the camps,” he said. “Many died. Agency people from the U.S. would come and cry that people were living so bad. The first years were the worst, then it got some better. Christians and my father were told if we talked about Jesus we would not get our food and they would treat us badly. It was a very hard time.

“The only good thing was the opportunity for many to get God. There was more time to preach because there was no work. Our Christian community grew. It was hard to be a Christian and some people were killed.”

Jon Huguley is a member of First Baptist and serves as a liaison between the two congregations.

“They’ve suffered enormous persecution through the years from authorities and even from their own families for being Christians,” Huguley said. “They’ve experienced a lot of rejection and paid a great price for their faith.”

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