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  • » 05/30/2014, 00.00

    NEPAL

    Nepal, Hindus to government: Give the land to the Christians to bury their dead

    Christopher Sharma

    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 sparked violent 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.

     

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    See also

    03/09/2013 NEPAL
    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.

    08/02/2011 NEPAL
    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.

    16/02/2011 NEPAL
    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”.

    23/03/2011 NEPAL
    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.

    28/01/2011 NEPAL
    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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