Christians in Nepal threaten corpse parade

Last Updated 03 May 2018, 05:41 IST

Hindu activists in the country have reject the Christian community’s claim for a burial site in the forest near the world famous Pashupatinath temple.
Last month, a meeting chaired by Culture Minister Minendra Rijal, of the governing board of Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) that manages the Hindu shrine, decided not to allow the Christians to bury their dead in the area.
Representatives of Nepal's Christians claim they do not have enough burial grounds for their dead in the overcrowded capital.

C.B. Gahatraj, General secretary of 'Christian Suggestion Committee of Nepal', has asked the government to allocate the land for the minority community for burying their dead.

According to Gahatraj, the group has also submitted a memo to Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal in this regard.

The group has threatened to parade its dead outside the Constituent Assembly building in protest if their demands were not met by the government.
According to a 2007 survey, there were around 500,000 Christians in the country of 30 million.

Narottam Vaidya, the treasurer of PADT said they are opposed to the demand of the Christians to acquire land for burying their dead in the temple area.
The government should arrange alternative land to them for burial, he said, adding we cannot allow them to bury their dead by breaking the age old tradition.

Located on the banks of the Bagmati river, Pashupatinath is regarded as the most sacred temple of Shiva (Pashupati) and the oldest Hindu shrine in Nepal.
The temple is also listed in UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site list.
Hindu activist Bharat Jangam said some Christians in the past unknowingly buried their dead in the nearby Shlesmantak forest, a part of the temple premises where a sect of Hindu saints called “Dashnami” were also burying their dead.

How can the Christians bury their dead in the same area designated for the Pashupatinath temple for centuries, he asked.

He said there was limited land in the area and if the Christians are allowed to bury their dead then the entire temple area will be covered with bodies in not too distant future.

Jangam claimed the government has allocated separate a place near Kapan some 3-4 km northeast of the area for as the burial site for the Christian community.

Nepal, the only official Hindu state, was converted into a secular state soon after the the country's Hindu monarch was forced to give up absolute power in 2006. The Maoists-dominated Constituent Assembly abolished Nepal's centuries-old monarchy in May 2008.

(Published 29 January 2011, 15:06 IST)

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