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  • » 05/22/2006, 00.00

    NEPAL

    Nepal is secular state: minorities happy

    Prakash Dubey

    According to minority groups, the historic decision of parliament is "revolutionary and democratic". The 1990 constitution had described the country as a "Hindu state".

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Religious and ethnic minorities in Nepal have voiced their satisfaction about a historic parliament resolution declaring the country to be a "secular state".

    Robert Gurung, a member of the "Good Hope" Pentecostal Church, said the decision was "revolutionary and democratic. It will ensure justice among the different religious, cultural, ethnic and linguistic minorities in the country." Gurung continued: "With the advent of the 1990 Constitution, minorities had started breathing some freedom to profess and live their faith and culture. However, the fact the country was defined as a Hindu state by the Constitution imposed particular restrictions on religious minorities, including Christian ones."

    "With this resolution, parliament is moving towards justice, pluralism and harmony," added Pasang Sherpa, secretary-general of the Confederation of Indigenous and Ethnic Groups of Nepal. "In a democracy, minorities cannot be marginalized. Nepal is starting a new chapter now."

    Sushil Shashank, a scholar of tribal culture, said the hegemony of the Hindu religion has weighed heavy on the psyche of the population for more than two decades. "A State religion means dominion of a culture, of a language and of some castes, and it goes against the potential of a society arising out of its pluralism. This is one of the reasons why our country passed through violence."

    A Buddhist monk, Sukhdev, added: "Imposing a religion on a population is practicing violence. Violence is never only physical. Other than faith, even imposition of ideas means violence. Buddha himself prohibited even this sort of ideological violence."

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    See also

    16/05/2012 NEPAL
    Whole regions without food as strikes and protests are held against the new constitution
    Demonstrations have plunged the country into chaos. A 19-day general strike has grounded air transport to the western districts. More than 30 people have been hurt in clashes between indigenous groups and opponents of federalism. Ban Ki-Moon calls on Nepal to respect minorities in the new constitution.

    16/05/2006 NEPAL
    From Hindu kingdom to secular state

    The premier has accepted to consider the request of several local ethnic groups to declare the country as a secular state. A local activist said: "Only a secular Nepal can put an end to the explicit and implicit discriminations suffered by minorities".



    03/08/2011 NEPAL
    Nepalese Muslims pray for tolerance during Ramadan
    Islamic leaders preach respect for other religious communities. The country still debates choice of a secular state or a return to a Hindu monarchy.

    20/07/2010 NEPAL
    Christians in Nepal from marginalized to political actors
    Protestant and Catholic leaders want more space in institutions in response to political and economic stalemate that has afflicted the country for months. Bishop Sharma in Kathmandu, says: "No leader has displayed a genuine interest in people. It's high time for the Christians in Nepal to engage actively in politics".

    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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