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    » 11/27/2012, 00.00

    NEPAL

    In Nepal's first census since the end of the monarchy, Christians up by 1 per cent

    Kalpit Parajuli

    In 10 years, Catholics and Protestants went from 0.4 to 1.4 per cent of the population, less than estimated in 2011. Hindu rise is attributed to wrong designation. Converts to Christianity are also afraid of declaring their new religion. Two million Nepalis live abroad.

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Nepal's Christians are growing. In ten years, they went from 0.4 per cent to 1.4 per cent in the country of 26 million, this according to the latest census released by the Maoist-controlled government. The findings are the first since Nepal became a secular state in 2007. The latest estimates were from last year. Surprisingly, Hindus grew from 80 to 81 per cent. Muslims remained the same at 4.4 per cent. Buddhists declined instead from 10.7 per cent to 9 per cent.

    Nepali Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai unveiled the study. In his address, he stated that no religion should use the results to ask for privileges. "The country is secular and people from all minority religions will enjoy equal status," he explained. "The government's programme will focus on women and minorities because they were deprived in the past."

    Various experts and religious leaders criticised the data's accuracy however, because of imprecise information, especially in relation to religion.

    "We believe our population is more than the report claims," Protestant leader CB Gahatraj said. "The problem is that during the census period, many newly converted Christians were afraid to tell their religion, and so were registered as Hindu." What is more, "when data collectors didn't meet the people because they were absent, they simply put them down as Hindu."

    Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) Director General Uttam Narayan Malla disagrees, saying that data collection was all done by the book and that there was no need to doubt its accuracy.

    In addition to religion, the census also looked at other important facts. Literacy grew by 10 per cent over 2001. The highest literacy rate is in Kathmandu with 86.3 per cent. The lowest one is in the rural district of Rautahat (Terai) at only 41.7 per cent.

    The census also shows that the number of Nepali migrants is up. In ten years, their numbers more than doubled, from 762,000 to more than 1.9 million.

    The overall population rose by 14.4 per cent whilst 25 new ethnic groups were recognised. 

     

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    See also

    18/06/2011 NEPAL
    Kathmandu, for the first time Christians included in Nepalese census
    The operation, started yesterday by President Ram Baran Yadav, will also apply to non-Hindus. The declaration of secular state (2006), the Himalayan republic grants more recognition to religious minorities. Appeal of Christian leaders to declare religious faith without fear.

    04/11/2015 INDIA
    Hindu paramilitary group calls for policy change to contain "harmful" minorities
    The Rashtriya Sangh Swyamsevak adopts a motion calling on the Indian government to review national policies on population. In its view, the growing numbers of Muslims and Christians is creating a “demographic imbalance” that is threatening the “country’s integrity, unity and identity”. Census data show that Hindus are 79.8 per cent, Muslims 14.23 per cent, and Christians 2.3 per cent of the population. For Christian activist, extremists “are twisting the data to stir fears among Hindus about Muslims”.

    31/08/2010 INDONESIA
    Police chief calls for the dismantling of extremist Islamic groups
    General Bambang Hendarso Danuri makes the proposal during a meeting of top government officials. However, Indonesia has no legislation allowing for sanctions against organised groups. Calls are made for the freedom to build places of worship without a permit from the authorities. Religious Affairs minister rejects the demand, saying it would fuel violence.

    24/04/2008 INDIA
    India getting ready for new national census
    Millions of volunteers and public officials will visit cities, towns and villages to chronicle the effects of economic growth on the population. Census results will allow authorities to examine new development policies.

    31/05/2012 NEPAL
    Nepali Christians hope rights promised by government are not mere propaganda
    Nepal's Maoist government signs a six-point deal with the Christian minority. The authorities agree to defend the rights of Catholics and Protestants and ensure their representation in parliament. With the failure of the constituent assembly, the country could implode economically and socially.



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