ICC Note: Christians in Nepal have experienced increased persecution, even within the last month. Part of this is due to the rise of Hindu extremist ideology in the region. This ideology has manifested in violent action, and the police are yet to respond in many of these cases in spite of being called upon by Christian religious leaders to do so. Additionally, an online movement has begun congruent to this ideology and specific threats against Christians are being made.
05/28/18 Nepal (The Gospel Herald) – Christians in Nepal are alarmed after this month’s sudden series of arson and bomb attacks on four church buildings, and church leaders suspect authorities are lax in investigating.
At the same time, six Christians were arrested for evangelizing while suspected Hindu extremists launched attacks on three church buildings and bombed another. The attacks caused extensive property damage but no casualties.
The Hebron Church building in the eastern hilly region was set on fire on May 9, Emmanuel Church’s building in western Nepal’s Doti District was burned on May 10, and the Kanchanpur Emmanuel Church building in the midwest hilly region was set ablaze on May 11. Before midnight on May 12, the Mahima Church building in Dhangadhi, in western Nepal, was bombed.
Neither government officials nor police have issued a formal statement on suspects, though police have attributed the attacks to the Nepal Communist Party, known as the Biplab Group. But Christian leaders in Nepal suspect a coordinated campaign by Hindu extremists.
Police are cooperating with church leaders and taking their complaints, but officers have not made any arrests, Tanka Subedi, chair of the Religious Liberty Forum Nepal (RLFN), told Morning Star News. He suspects officials have told police to proceed slowly.
“They have not made any arrests yet, as it seems that they have been clearly notified to not carry out arrests in these cases,” Subedi said.
The Mahima Church building in Dhangadhi was partially damaged around 11 p.m. on May 12 after an unknown assailant hurled a bomb into it after others broke a window. Doors, furniture, carpeting, electric appliances, the roof and windows were reported damaged.
Mahima Church pastor Birendra Kariya told Morning Star News he has faced no threats since he began leading the church in 1999. Police promised that they will investigate, but church leaders have received no response from officers about the cases, Pastor Kariya said.
Pastor B.P. Khanal of The Lord’s Assembly told Morning Star News the similarity of the attacks indicated they were coordinated by a single entity.
“Though it might appear that these attacks have been carried out by the same person, geographically this is not possible,” he said. “Which means that these are performed by people who are in a network and are well connected to each other.”
Online Anti-Christian Movement
Recently a social media movement has arisen against Christians on Facebook and Twitter with such hashtags as “Hindu Awakening against Conversion (Esai Karan ke Virudh Hindu Jagaran Abhiyaan),” openly threatening killing and attacks, Pastor Khanal said, “They have gathered a lot of support and fan-following from the Nepali masses,” he said. “These attacks have not come upon the Nepali churches as a surprise, but these are well-planned and coordinated attacks against the Christian community, and the government is doing nothing about this.”
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