01/29/2021 Nepal (International Christian Concern) – On January 20, 2021 Nepalese authorities appeared at the doorsteps of the Rupantaran Khristiya Church with demolition equipment to destroy the church. Several Christian families in the Naya Basti slum area who had called this church home gathered there on January 20 and broke down in tears as the officials tore into the walls of the church, bringing it down piece by piece. The lead pastor of the church, Prem Rokka, was among those gathered, watching with a heavy heart as his church building came crumbling down. The church was established in the slum area in 2013 through the help of a generous donation of one of the families that offered up the building for Christian use.
The local authorities reportedly gave the pastor, deacons, and elders 5 minutes to empty the church building from any items, equipment, and valuables before they would demolish the building. The pastor and his team protested this demand, saying it was not enough time, but the local authorities were undeterred and continued with their demolition project.
The demolition of the church building was part of a planned effort in which the government had provided the land in the slum area for a local public school to build their facilities. Many of the people living in the slums were forced to move from their homes along with the church as the government enacted the project.
Originally, as the the land deal was being negotiated and finalized, the church leaders had protested the decision, and the government had responded by instructing the school to not proceed with the demolition of the church until the church had located a new facility that they could utilize for their worship purposes. However, this mandate was ignored and the demolition was carried out before the church could relocate.
The demolition comes shortly after a UN General Assembly resolution condemning the destruction of religious sites. The church’s congregation has now been forced to meet in the houses of the members as they have not been unable to locate a new building or a facility at the time of this publication.
International Christian Concern is following this story and will be reporting on further developments.
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