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ICC Note:
For the past couple of years, Nepal has found itself in a “tug-of-war” over religious freedom. Many of the country’s religious minorities, including Christians, would like Nepal to fully embrace religious freedom. Unfortunately, Hindu extremists in the Hindu-majority country do not want this. Every time Nepal makes strides towards religious freedom, Hindu extremists lash out. When the country declared itself to be a secular state in 2015, churches were bombed and a clause was added to the constitution that made religious conversion illegal. Will Nepal eventually embrace religious freedom or will it revert back to a Hindu kingdom? 
01/13/2017 Nepal (Mission Network News) – The situation for Christians in Nepal is playing out like a tug-of-war right now. A step may be taken to protect believers and religious freedom in the Hindu-majority nation, and then Hindu extremists or local officials lash out.
C.B. Gahatraj, General Secretary of the Federation of National Christians in Nepal (FNCN), met with ministry partner Christian Aid Mission last week to discuss the current state for Nepali believers.
Earlier in 2016, Nepal’s government scrapped Christmas as a national holiday. Nepali Christians objected to the move since it would be significantly harder for Christian workers to observe the holiday and celebrate with loved ones. Gahatraj shared through a translator that there had been a protest in the streets. Then the FNCN approached Nepal’s Prime Minister and lobbied for Christmas to be reinstated.
Gahatraj explains, “In order to happen, this Christmas holiday in Nepal, we went to political leaders, party leaders and officials. The prime minister, we met with them. We had several meetings with the government officials as well.
“They started saying, ‘Okay, we will grant the Christmas holiday.’ The next day, they gave a press conference and the Nepal government granted for one time a Christmas holiday.”
Despite 2016’s yuletide victory, Nepali believers still encounter hostility within society. Their Hindu neighbors will, in some cases, prevent Christians from using their burial grounds, and bar them from speaking about the Gospel.
Nepal was declared a secular state in 2007, and in 2015 the nation enacted a new constitution that allowed for freedom of religion. However, in practice at the local level, it’s not that easy, says Gahatraj.
“They’re targeting Christians in Nepal, they’re also targeting missionaries from other countries in Nepal. Christian organizations…are planning to close some of their offices. Also, the government of Nepal is discussing about some NGOs regarding pending the case to renew some Christian organizations. It is pending and they are discussing, but they are not renewing Christian organizations in Nepal.”

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