Nepal: New Criminal Code to Stop Conversions to Christianity

Changes to the criminal code are currently under review. Anyone preaching or trying to persuade others to change religion could get up to five years in prison and almost US$ 700 in fines. Christians fear new code could restrict religious freedom and be used by Hindu extremists.

Kathmandu – Nepal plans to reform its criminal code and ban proselytising in order to stop conversions to Christianity and religions other than Hinduism and Buddhism. According to Article 160 of the new code, anyone who preaches or tries to persuade others to change religion could get up to five years in prison and receive a fine of 50,000 Nepali rupees (US$ 865). This has raised fear and anger among Christians who are concerned about restrictions on religious freedom in the country. Presented on 15 May, the new code needs the approval of parliament and President Ram Baran Yadav.

“The law is not against Christians who do great work in the service of the country,” Nepali Justice Minister Prabhu Sah told AsiaNews, “but is against the imposition of Christianity.”

Sah said that Hindus and Buddhists have complained about conversions by aggressive proselytising by Protestant communities. “These charges do not apply to Catholics,” the minister said.

Isu Jang Karki, head of the Nepal Christian Society, a Protestant group, slams the government proposal, saying that the charges about forced conversions are false.

Religious minorities are not represented in parliament and the new code could be adopted without Christian input. Moreover, it could be used by Hindu extremists.

Nepal became a secular state in 2007 after centuries of Hindu absolutist monarchy. According to the transitional constitution, adopted under the aegis of the United Nations, proselytising is banned, but all Nepali citizens are free to express their faith, including through missionary and charity work.

According to some Church officials, thousands of Hindus have converted to Christianity after the fall of the monarchy. Each Sunday, more than 200 non-Christians attend Mass in Kathmandu’s Catholic cathedral.

However, recent political and economic instability caused by a power struggle among secular parties has strengthened Hindu movements, which seek the restoration of the monarchy and want to end conversions at all cost.

Source: Asia News

 

Comments

Dear Editor,
This News-'Nepal: New criminal code to stop conversions to Christianity'is accepted in the Hindu socities. We Nepalese request, the democratic world should respect the other religions in the world. If not there will start the religious anarchism.
You know- Nepal is the pious Hindu country in the lapse of the Himalayas, which is beautiful, quiet, the birth place of Buddha and origin of Hinduism. Lord Buddha is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu- the Hindu God. Besides being the country of Everest it is equally popular with its diverse cultural values. This is the land where civilization began and is also known as the country of 'SANGRILA.' Nepal is as holy place to Hindus & Buddhists, as Mecca for Muslims and Jerusalem to Jews and Christians.
Rig Veda, Atharva Veda, Sambeda and Yajurbeda guide the prosperous path of human being who calls upon humanity to be united and to have common speech and common minds and enjoins upon all humans to be affectionate. Shrutis (Vedas) and Smritis (Recollections) are the asset of civilization. Manusmriti and Upanishads are the guideline off all. Similarly, Puranas are also a Treasure to Sanathana Hindu Dharma. We have 18th Puranas- Agni Purana, Brahma Purana, Garuda Purana, Markandeya Purana, Varaha Purana, Matsya Purana Vishnu Purana, Linga urana, Narada Purana, Padma Purana, Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana, Vamana Purana.
The religious structure of Nepalese society is formally Hindu; but here and only here the interplay of peoples and their religious traditions has produced a rich fusion of Hindu and Buddhist faiths. It is common for both Hindus and Buddhists to worship at the same shrine, for many gods and saints are cross-over, often known by a different name but holding the same attributes. The original inhabitants of the valley were animists, a tradition which survives in the multitude of spirits, demons, local deities, and stones which receive dutiful worship to this day. Hindu and Buddhist traditions adapted from the pre-existing animist practices and from each other. Hindu culture and traditions have a long history spanning over a period of thousands and thousands of years and, developed over several eras. They remain indispensable to the lives of Hindus and Hindu Temples today as sources of religious practices, spiritual inspiration, cultural expression, and social bonding. They bind all Hindus together irrespective of the regional and ethnic diversity.

A country's existence and prestige can gradually be eroded by finishing off its faith and belief tradition and culture and the creator of nation. If anyone wants the assurance of integrity and lasting peace in this country, one must not be confused about the country's century's old customs and religion prestige as well as the builder of nationality and unity.
Having diverse cohesive communities, Nepal has built up as a nation in a long historical process. Nepal was worthy to be bowed down by Hindus all over the world. This is the highest honor Nepal could receive from the international community. Nepal's prestige and honor would elevate further if this country is declared as “Hindu and Buddhist”; country, instead of a secular state. But, at present why the peaceful country where Lord Buddha was born has become the venue of confrontations?

Muslim and Christian religions took birth long after the creation of Hindu religion and its civilization. Hindus and Buddhists of Nepal are highly liberal. They respect either of the religions, Christian and Muslim. However, Hindus will not tolerate the attempt made on attacking the popular religion of this place by coming here and trying to evangelize people following other religions. In Nepal, Hindus and Buddhists do not bear any ill will towards Muslims. This is so because Muslims follow their own religion and respect Hinduism and Buddhism, not attack them. So we are not angry towards Muslims. Hindus of Nepal are suspicious and angry towards the Christian workers brokers. Christian's supporters want to destroy Nepal’s identity.

We, Hindus respect the only Jews state 'Israel' of the world. Lastly, it is our appeal to the Christian missions and Christian nations that they confer their rich respect to the only pure Hindu nation of Nepal. May there be efforts to the effect of eradicating the negative views of Hindus towards Christianity. So, all the Christians and Christian world must regard the Vedic Hindu religion and NEPAL as a 'Hindu Kingdom.'
Long live all the prestige of all religion in the world.
Thank you.
Dirgha Raj Prasai
Political & Cultural Analyst.
Kathmandu, Nepal

 

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