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6 Christians Arrested, 4 Churches Attacked, Bombed in Nepal

Thursday, June 7, 2018, 22:30 (IST)

Hindu extremists have launched series of arson and bomb attacks on four church buildings in Nepal this month. In addition, six Christians have been arrested for evangelizing.

The attacks caused extensive property damage but no casualties.

On May 9, the Hebron Church building in the eastern hilly region was set on fire. On the following day, Emmanuel Church's building in western Nepal's Doti District was attacked and set on fire. On May 11, the Kanchanpur Emmanuel Church building in the midwest hilly region was burned; and on May 12, the Mahima Church building in Dhangadhi, in western Nepal, was bombed.

Also, on May 9 two Christians were arrested while singing worship songs on the street and allegedly proclaiming Christ, while four were arrested at their homes. They appeared in court on May 17, when their remand to jail was extended for seven more days.

The miscreants burned the records of Kanchanpur Emmanuel Church, along with 300 kilograms of grain and electric appliances.

Police have attributed the attacks to the Nepal Communist Party, known as the Biplab Group, but a formal statement on suspects has not been issued.

But Christian leaders in Nepal suspect a coordinated campaign by Hindu extremists as there is similarity in the attacks.

"Though it might appear that these attacks have been carried out by the same person, geographically this is not possible," said Pr B.P. Khanal of The Lord's Assembly told Morning Star News.

"Which means that these are performed by people who are in a network and are well connected to each other," he added.

Police are lax in investigating as government officials have told them to probe slowly, Tanka Subedi, chair of the Religious Liberty Forum Nepal (RLFN), told MSN.

"They have not made any arrests yet, as it seems that they have been clearly notified to not carry out arrests in these cases," said Subedi.

Hate campaigns against Christians on social media are gaining popularity.

A recent social media movement with hashtag "Hindu Awakening against Conversion (Esai Karan ke Virudh Hindu Jagaran Abhiyaan)," is an open threat to attack and kill, said Khanal.

"They have gathered a lot of support and fan-following from the Nepali masses," he said.

"These attacks have not come upon the Nepali churches as a surprise, but these are well-planned and coordinated attacks against the Christian community, and the government is doing nothing about this," he added.