» 05/30/2014, 00.00
Nepal, Hindus to government: Give the land to the Christians to bury their dead
Hundreds of people, of both religions, attended the funeral of the Catholic Rajendra Rai, his body was cremated because the authorities still have not granted land for Christian cemeteries. The support of ethnic minorities and of the Hindu majority.
Kathmandu ( AsiaNews) - Hundreds of people, Christians
and Hindus together, they followed the body of the Catholic Rajendra Rai to the
place of his cremation. The funeral rites later turned into a large peaceful
demonstration, calling on the authorities to grant Christians the land needed
to create a cemetery. The issue has been going on for some time, and even
protests in the past.
Rai's funeral - he was an official of the local
Caritas who died at age 49 due to heart problems - has brought the issue once
again to the fore. After the funeral in the Cathedral of the Assumption in
Kathmandu, the interfaith procession followed the hearse to the Bagmati river:
here Hindus cremate the bodies of their loved ones. Gyan Rai, brother of the
deceased, told AsiaNews: "Although we are sad for the loss, it is
comforting and nice to see this great mass of people at the funeral. Hopefully
the government will listen to us".
Pradip, Hindu, continues: " Nepal has several religious groups and is now
a secular state: all faiths should have the same rights and the same
opportunities. The government should immediately grant the land to the
Christians. If they are not free and happy, then neither are the Hindus,
Christians are citizens of this country, equal to all others". Binod
Pahadi, also Hindu, says : "We are with the Christians and we will support
with their demands. The government cannot simply ignore us".
The debate over burial sites for the Christian minority and tribal Kirlti (who will
not cremate their dead ) has been ongoing for decades. The majority of Hindu
tradition cremate their dead and do not understand the needs of minorities to
bury their dead, and hinders such custom . Until now, Christians and tribal
land bought at his own expense that are often seized or desecrated . Spaces are
sometimes inadequate : in a tomb of a few meters can also be buried 10 dead.
Kathmandu: Christians have no right to a cemetery
The measure, which was to "preserve the sanctity of the soil near the Hindu shrine of Pashupatinath" compels a minority to seek burial sites concealed in the forest or near the rivers. Christian leader: "We fear that the Nepalese Hindu faith profane our graves." The government does not respond to the requests of the faithful.
Nepali Hindus and Christians: false allegations of forced conversions to Christianity
Hindu monarchists declare one million conversions from Hinduism to Christianity since the fall of the monarchy. Religious leaders of both faiths accuse the Hindu extremist parties of exploiting religion to gain support.
Christian politicians ask Nepalese Prime Minister Khanal for land to bury the dead
The representatives of Christian communities want a direct intervention of the Prime Minister to resolve the conflict between Christians and Hindus in the cemetery near the temple of Pashupati. Christian leader: "If they do not give us a land to bury our dead we will demand Khanal’s resignation”.
Christians in Nepal protest against government: "We have the right to bury our dead"
The authorities of the Hindu temple of Pashupatinath prevent the burial of Christians, despite the go-ahead from the Supreme Court. Hundreds of Catholics and Protestant parade in central Kathmandu to demand a cemetery from authorities.
Kathmandu gives go ahead to Christian and Muslim cemeteries. Hindus protest
The land for the dead is located in a forest near the Hindu temple of Pashupatinath in Kathmandu. For the extremists, the area is sacred. The government decision comes after years of disputes and clashes with the Hindu community reluctant to give space to other faiths. Often Christians and Muslims were forced to bury more dead in the same grave.
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