Nepal Christians likely to suffer under the new anti-conversion and blasphemy law

Published 03 January 2020  |  

Nepal, which once was a Hindu kingdom, is now a home to one of the fastest growing Christian communities in the world as claimed by mission organizations.

According to the latest survey, there are roughly 13,000 Churches in Nepal now.

Nepal was officially a Hindu kingdom until 2008. Christian mission work was not very active or encouraged in the country. The situation took a turn when the Nepal constitution granted freedom of religion to its citizens. The interim constitution adopted by the nation opened the gates for Christian mission work.

Now the Christian community in Nepal has grown from 0.2% to an estimated amount of 1.5% of the country's population.

Around 65% of the Christians come from low caste communities in the country.

Though Nepal has the fastest growing Christian community in the world, Christians face a lot of persecution in the country.

When Nepal adopted the new constitution that assured freedom of religion to all its citizens in 2015, the country also adopted the constitutional language that restricted citizens from sharing their religious beliefs with others.

According to Article 26 (3) of the country's constitution, "no person shall... convert another person from one religion to another or [perform] any act or conduct that may jeopardize [another's] religion."

Subsequently, a criminal bill was added to the article that said "Nobody should hurt the religious sentiment of any caste, ethnic community or class by writing, through voice/talk or by a shape or symbol in any other such manner."

Along with these restrictions, when Nepal adopted the nationwide anti-conversion and blasphemy law, Christian communities in the country were widely persecuted.

Seventeen Christians, including several foreigners, were charged and arrested under the country's anti-conversion and blasphemy law in 2019.

Christian community may continue to grow in Nepal but Christians are likely to suffer persecution under the new anti-conversion and blasphemy law.

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