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    » 08/14/2012, 00.00

    NEPAL

    Hindu terrorists threaten more attacks against Christians and Muslims

    Kalpit Parajuli

    The new chief of the Nepal Defence Army says his group is ready to carry out more attacks against Catholic churches and place of worship. The parish priest at Kathmandu's Assumption Cathedral and a Protestant leader receive threats.

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Hindu extremists from the Nepal Defence Army (NDA) have issued telephone threats against Catholic churches, and circulated leaflets ordering Christians and Muslims to leave the country. Chirendra Satyal, a Nepali Catholic media official, and Fr Robin Rai, parish priest at Kathmandu's Assumption Cathedral who was targeted by the same group in a 2009 attack, received threatening phone calls.

    "On 7 August, someone called claiming to be the NDA's new chief," Satyal said. "He thought he was talking to a priest, and hung up when I told him I was not."

    The next day, the same individual contacted Fr Rai, claiming to be Sangharsha, the new NDA leader. "In the call, which lasted a few seconds, the Hindu extremist said that he would plant a bomb at our church if we did not help his group," the priest explained. "But when I asked what type of help he wanted he hung up."

    Sundar Thapa, a member of the Federation of National Christians-Nepal (FNCN), also received threats. He said that Sangharsha told him to dissolve the federation and leave the country. According to the terrorist leader, Nepal is a Hindu nation and Christians and Muslims are not welcome.

    Rising tensions among religious minorities have forced them to take measures to protect their places of worship by deploying security guards to avoid attacks.

    "Police have started an investigation into such criminal activities," the Lalitpur Police Superintendent Basanta Panta said yesterday. He added that he would remain in contact with leaders of the Christian community, and that police would provide protection to places of worship and other sensitive areas.

    After months of silence and attempts at reconciliation, the NDA has recently gone back to armed struggle to create a Hindu state, taking advantage of the country's instability. Since 2007, Nepal has been without a constitution.

    On 7 August, police foiled a series of attacks against public buildings by seven members of the terrorist group. Former NDA leader Ram Prasad Mainali was behind them even though he has been in jail since 2009. To prevent him from communicating with the outside world, prison authorities recently placed him in solitary confinement.

    In 2010, Mainali wrote a letter to Nepal's Catholics asking for forgiveness for his role in the attack against Kathmandu's Assumption Cathedral. However, his contrition proved to be a ruse to avoid further investigations into his group.

    In addition to the cathedral attack in 2009, the NDA claimed responsibility for attacks against the Union Mission to Nepal, a Protestant organisation, as well as the United Nations headquarters in Kathmandu and a number of mosques.

    The group has also been accused of murdering Fr John Prakash, head of the Salesian school in Sirsya (Morang), in July 2007.

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    See also

    01/06/2009 NEPAL
    Hindu extremists threaten Nepali Christians
    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.

    12/09/2009 NEPAL
    The arrest of Hindu extremist Mainalo does not extinguish the fears of Nepali Christians
    The terrorist is the head of the Nepal Defence Army behind last May’s attack on the Catholic Cathedral of Kathmandu. Fr. Robin Rai, pastor of the church hit by the bomb, thanks the government for “having done its duty. " But it warns: "This does not mean that threats and risks for Christians in the country are over”.

    12/08/2009 NEPAL
    Hindu extremists behind attack against Nepali Congress party headquarters
    The improvised explosive device blew up inside the ruling party’s headquarters. A second bomb was found and defused inside the Bagmati Zonal Office of the Department of Transport Management. The Hindu fundamentalist Nepal Defence Army, a group opposed to the country’s secularisation, is suspected.

    30/11/2011 NEPAL
    Hindu extremists target Nepali Christians again
    Three attacks are carried out between 22 and 28 November. A Christian NGO, a Protestant church and a Catholic school are the targets. A Hindu terrorist group, the Nepal Defence Army, threatens more attacks against Christians and other religious minorities.

    28/10/2008 NEPAL
    Minorities accuse Nepalese government of favoring Hinduism
    With the beginning of the feast of Tihar, ethnic minorities in the country are raising their voices against the Maoist government of Prachanda. They are criticizing the favorable treatment shown toward Hindus, accusing: "In Nepal, secularism is only a declaration of intent."



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