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    » 01/21/2013, 00.00

    NEPAL

    Bible sales among non-Christians double

    Kalpit Parajuli

    Tired of Maoist promises, more and more Nepalis turn to the Bible's message of hope, this according to Bible for the World. The Christian text is a bestseller in stores.

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Uncertain about the future in the Maoist-ruled country, more and more Nepalis are finding comfort in the Bible. Rev CB Gahararaj, a Protestant clergyman and a member of the US-based Bible for the World, said that 2012 and early 2013 have a seen a boom in sales of the sacred text.

    "The number of copies sold has doubled. Stores have run out of Nepali editions of the Bible, forcing printers to increase output," the clergyman said.

    People are frustrated by the country's grim social and political situation, torn by divisions between Maoists and monarchists that date back to the civil war.

    Disappointed by the populism of the parties of the extreme left that have ruled the country since 2008, "Many non-Christians have found a real source of hope in the Gospel and the Bible."

    Since 2007, when the monarchy fell, Nepal has been without a constitution. In the past few years, political parties have failed to adopt the new charter. On seven different occasions, they have failed to approve it because of divisions or general strikes by the Maoist party.

    Summary killings dating back to the civil war have complicated political life as families of the victims have been demanded justice in recent years.

    Not too long ago, a court accused Prime Minister Baburan Bhattarai, a Maoist, of trying to stop trials involving Maoist fighters involved in massacres, now in politics.

    For Fr Robin Rai, parish at Kathmandu's Assumption Cathedral, the Church and Christians are at work every day trying to end the "divisions and hatred among people fomented by political parties themselves. We are praying for an end to the impasse. Only reconciliation among the factions can allow the country to start again."

    For decades, Catholic and Protestant communities have been involved in charity work and educational activities (from primary school to university), taking on a major role in Nepali society, especially in the poorest regions of the country.

    With greater religious freedom in the last few years, the number of Christians has gone up compared to before. For centuries under the monarchy, religions other than Hinduism were banned.

    According to the 2011 census, Catholic and Protestants represent 1.5 per cent of the population, up from 0.5 per cent in 2006. In six years, the number of Catholic rose from 4,000 to 10,000.

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    See also

    09/01/2012 NEPAL
    UN denies subsidy to 4 thousand former Maoist guerrillas. Protests across Nepal
    The former combatants threaten a return to armed struggle. Clashes with the police and cars burned in the capital and the rest of the country. First mass protest since disarmament of the militias of the September 20, 2011.

    06/05/2011 NEPAL
    Maoists get Home Affairs Ministry amid fears of new violence
    Maoists now will be in charge of the country’s internal security. The appointment is the result of a secret deal between Communist PM Khanal and Maoist leaders. The party representing the former guerrilla fighters also controls 19,000 armed men.

    11/04/2008 NEPAL
    Orderly voting in Nepal, Maoists defeated in first round
    Only a few incidents at a handful of polls, but at least four are dead. Tallying the votes will take more than 10 days. Maoists defeated in the first round.

    12/07/2006 NEPAL
    Nepal risks new civil war

    The only Christian member of the committee set up to monitor the ceasefire between the government and Maoists warned that the two parties were "shamelessly violating" the June accord: "If the scheduled talks fail, the guerrilla war will resume in the cities".



    30/05/2011 NEPAL
    Parties reach deal to save Nepal’s peace process
    A first draft of the new constitution and guidelines to reintegrate Maoist fighters should be ready in three-month time. However, there are many questions about how prepared the parties are to work together. The deal for example lacks binding principles and a detailed agenda.



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