Christians in Nepal Continue to Struggle to Find Burial Grounds

ICC Note:

Christians in Nepal have continue to struggle to obtain rights to burial ground where they can legally bury their dead. Because of the lack of official burial grounds, Christians are often forced to bury their dead in forests illegally. At times, local Hindu radicals, enraged by the Christian burials, dig up the bodies and bring them back to the homes of the Christian families or even leave the bodies in the streets. Again, the Christian community is petitioning the government to allot them land to officially bury their dead, but the issue remains unresolved. 

01/09/2017 Nepal (The Christian Times) – Nepalese Christians are having difficulty obtaining rights to their own burial grounds, and they are being forced to bury their dead at nearby forests at night, according to a Christian lobbying group.

C.B. Gahatraj, general secretary of the Federation of National Christians, Nepal (FNCN), said in an interview with The Christian Post that there have been reports that the deceased Christians were dug up from the ground and dumped at the homes of the relatives or discarded on the streets.

Gahatraj noted that Christians who bury their dead in the forests are at risk of facing legal consequences if they are caught, and these Christians will have to dig up the remains and relocate them elsewhere.

“If Christians refuse to dig out the bodies of their relatives, in some cases Hindu radicals have themselves dug out the bodies, and taken the bodies to the Christian relatives’ home, and in other cases have just left the dead bodies on the streets,” he stated.

Christians have held hunger strikes to protest the burial ban which resulted in an agreement to temporarily allow a cemetery for Christians, according to Gahatraj.

He said that the Christian church is continuously growing despite the hardships they are facing. He noted that there are currently over 10,000 houses of worship, but they are struggling to get registered with the government and be officially recognized as nonprofit organizations.

Nepal is officially a secular state, but there are prohibitions against proselytizing. Gahatraj explained that people are allowed to practice their religion, but they are forbidden from sharing their faith with others.

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