Pastor in Nepal Arrested on False Charges Amid COVID-19 Lockdown
04/10/2020 Nepal (International Christian Concern) – According to Morning Star News, police in Nepal arrested a Christian pastor on March 28 after falsely accusing him of holding a worship service in violation of the country’s nationwide lockdown. Days before the arrest, on March 24, Nepal’s government ordered a nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 28, police jumped over the locked gate of Nissi Church in the Surkhet District of Karnali Province. There they found Pastor Mohan Gurung, Pastor Gurung’s family and the families of the assistant pastors of Nissi Church chatting. According to Morning Star News, all of these individuals live on the premises of Nissi Church.
The police demanded to know why Pastor Gurung and the other Christians had gathered. According to Morning Star News, they asked, “Will your Jesus save if you contract coronavirus?”
Pastor Gurung attempted to explained that they were not holding a worship service and that all of them lived on the church premises. However, the police would not listen.
“My attempts to explain to them that I was not holding a worship service failed,” Pastor Gurung told Morning Star News. “They had already determined to arrest me.”
According to Pastor Gurung, Nssi Church normally holds a congregation of 800 Christians on Sunday worship. The church building has been locked and has not held a worship service since March 21.
“I also had stuck handbills on the walls of the church about coronavirus and safety measures to be followed,” Pastor Gurung explained to Morning Star News. “But the police jumped the gate, barged inside the premises and accused me of holding a worship service.”
After being arrested, Pastor Gurung was taken to the local police station where he was further harassed. According to Morning Star News, the officers shouted at Pastor Gurung saying, “Are you a fool? Your Jesus could not save himself on the cross. How can he save you from coronavirus?”
The next day, March 29, Pastor Gurung was released on bail. However, he will likely have to continue to fight against this false charge after the national lockdown has been lifted.
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