Hindu extremist seeks forgiveness of Christians and Muslims for violence
by Kalpit Parajuli
From Nakkhu prison (Kathmandu), Ram Prasad Mainalo former leader of the Nepal Army Defence says he's changed thanks to reading the Bible. Along with all his group was responsible for the attacks at the cathedral in Kathmandu on 23 May and the Mosque Birantnagar on 26 April. Pastor of the Cathedral: "We need to understand if his is a real change."

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - "The decision to attack religious people was a mistake. I ask the forgiveness of all religious communities”.  This is the statement from prison from Ram Prasad Mainali, former head of Nepal Defense Army (NDA) the Hindu group responsible for the attack last May 23 on the church of Lalitpur, which killed three Christians. "I want to ask the community (Christian and Muslim) to not look at me with disdain - he continues - but I wish that they take pity on me and I ask them to always pray for me."

 The NDPA is a little-known group, but over the years has claimed a series of terrorist activities including murder, explosions and intimidation. Its goal is to create a Hindu style state in Nepal.

In addition to bombing the Catholic cathedral of Kathmandu, the group claimed responsibility for the attack on the headquarters of the Congress Central Party on 11 August last, the mosque of Birantnagar of 26 April. The group is also accused of the death of Fr John Prakash, rector of the Salesian school Sirsya (Morang), who was killed by unknown assailants in July 2007.

After his arrest on September 10 Mainali says he is a changed man.  

"The Hindu state should not be achieved by killing Muslims and Christians – he says - problems can not be solved by violence. This is what I have understood in prison. "

In Nakkhu prison, he participates each week in a lecture on the Bible and moments of prayer and discussion with the inmates of the Christian faith. "Mainali has changed his heart through our readings and discussions on the Bible," says Sunsil Darshadhari, a young Catholic and his companion in prison.

The pastor of the Cathedral of the Assumption remains rather skeptical. "We need to understand whether this change is true - he says - he might have said this just to get out of prison." The same opinion is shared by Nazrul Hussein, president of the Islamic Federation of Nepal. "He and his group have committed serious crimes - he says - his pardon can not be a matter of religion, but only the law and it should not forgive."

Now the former NDP leader said he wants to launch a peaceful protest to demand and the creation of a Hindu state. He has announced that some cadres of the group have already met in a secret area to plan the event. Its goal is to bring over 10 million Hindus onto the streets of the capital.