06/01/2009, 00.00
NEPAL
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Hindu extremists threaten Nepali Christians

by Kalpit Parajuli
Hindu-dominated Nepal Defence Army on Republic Day announces new attacks. Nepali Catholic spokesperson says Nepali Catholics will not be intimidated, will continue their work.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – The Nepal Defence Army (NDA), a Hindu fundamentalist organisation, is again threatening Christians. In a press release sent to newspapers on Saturday it accuses Christians of “polluting” the nation, ordering them to stop their activities and leave Nepal “within a month.”

The fundamentalist group calls for a Hindu-only Nepal and warns Christians that they should expect serious consequences, “far worse than that attack against the Church of the Assumption.”

Last 23 May the NDA attacked the capital’s Catholic cathedral. An unidentified woman threw a home-made explosive device inside the church killing two young women and wounding another 14.

Chirendra Satyal, a representative of Nepal’s Catholic community, said that Nepal’s Catholics “will not let themselves be intimidated by threats; they will continue their service in favour of the people of Nepal.”

Raghuji Panta, personal adviser to the prime minister, said that the government “will take action against such threats.” 

The new message of intimidation came at the same time as the country celebrated the first anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic, which marked the nation’s transition from a Hindu monarchy to a secular state.

Panta reiterated the government’s commitment to “upholding the principle of the separation of state and religion achieved by the country through the Republic.”  

“We are sure we will bring the culprits to justice,” said Kumar Singh Rana, head of the government task force investigating the attack against Kathmandu cathedral. Speaking to AsiaNews he explained that “we have some evidence but need more to make any arrest.”

Nepal has a population of 27 million people. Hindus represent 86 per cent of the total. Buddhists and Muslims represent 7 and 3.5 per cent respectively. About 8,000 Nepalis are Catholic.

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