The minister of a church in Nepal that was bombed by an extremist Hindu group in 2009 has been threatened with another attack amid demands for Christians to leave the country.
Three people were killed and more than a dozen injured in the attack by the Nepal Defence Army (NDA) on Robin Rai’s church in Lalitpur, south of Kathmandu. On 8 August, he received a sinister phone call by a man claiming to be Sangharsha, the new leader of the NDA.
Mr Rai said:
The Hindu extremist said that he would plant a bomb at our church if we did not help his group. But when I asked what type of help he wanted he hung up.
Other Christian leaders have also received threats, and the NDA has been circulating leaflets ordering Christians and Muslims to leave the country.Sundar Thapa of the Federation of National Christians-Nepal (FNCN) was told by Sangharsha that Nepal is a Hindu nation where Christians and Muslims are not welcome. The Hindu leader ordered him to dissolve FNCN and leave the country.Police in Nepal are taking the threats seriously and have launched an investigation. Lalitpur Police Superintendent Basanta Panta said that police would protect places of worship and other vulnerable sites.The NDA carries out sporadic attacks against Christian targets. In November 2011, the group was behind a bomb blast outside the offices of the United Mission to Nepal, an association of Christian organisations devoted to social justice and poverty alleviation, in Kathmandu. Pamphlets signed by the group demanding that Nepal become a Hindu state, all churches in Kathmandu be closed within 50 days and all missionary organisations leave Nepal, were found by the police.The NDA is also thought to have committed the murder of church leader John Prakash in 2007.The group wants to reinstate the country’s Hindu monarchy and establish a Hindu state, and it uses violent tactics towards this end. On 7 August, police foiled a series of plots by seven NDA members to attack public buildings.Until 2006, Nepal, which is around 75% Hindu, was a Hindu kingdom, but it is now secular and in something of a state of limbo, as political parties have been unable to agree a new constitution.
Source: Barnabas Fund