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ICC Note:

Christians in Nepal have been called to pray for peace and minority rights following an arson attack on a Catholic church in Kathmandu. Religious intolerance from the country’s Hindu majority has grown since the BJP-led government took over the influential India federal government in 2014. After Nepal passed its new constitution declaring itself to be a secular state, Hindu radicals bombed three churches. Will instances of persecution continue to rise in Nepal?  

04/27/2017 Nepal (Asia News) – The Apostolic Vicariate of Nepal has called on all Catholics in the Himalayan nation to pray for peace and minority rights.

Church leaders made the appeal yesterday, following an arson attack against a vehicle parked near Kathmandu’s Assumption Cathedral and damaged the parish’s residence.

The Vicariate “decided to hold an hour prayer in all of the country’s churches,” said Chirendra Satyal, spokesman for the local Catholic Church. “Someone attacked the Catholic minority, which is innocent and contributes a lot to needy communities. This kind of threat to religious freedom must be stopped.”

Last week’s incident is the second of its kind against Nepal’s main Catholic Church. In 2009 a bomb exploded killing three people during a religious service. The latter was blamed on the Nepal Defense Army, an extremist Hindu group.

Police launched an investigation into the 18 April attack, but has not made any arrest so far.

“I was asleep when fire broke out and flames came into the house,” said Father Ignatius, the parish priest. “I woke up and ran into the children’s room to get them out.”

“We managed to save ourselves thanks to the help of people who live nearby. Without it, the residence, the church, and the training center could have completely burnt down. But this won’t discourage us. We shall continue with our duties.”

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