Nepalese pastor faces death threats against for YouTube post on "how I met Christ"

The Rev. Sukdev Giri has not returned home to the Chitwan district since mid-August. The Hindu radicals "offended" because he spoke of how he was struck "by Jesus, a God who washed the feet of his disciples". Lawyer: persecution of Christians increasing.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Nepalese Christian pastor has not returned home since mid-August, that is, since a video in which he spoke of how he met Christianity and how he was "fascinated by Christ who washed the feet of his disciples ”went viral on social media.

The man is the Rev. Sukdev Giri, 59, a member of the Trinity Fellowship Church in the Chitwan district, in the central-southern part of the country. His story is reported by Evangelical Focus, which quotes Morning Star News. The pastor told the latter agency that he received death threats from Hindu radicals, that he was forced to change phone numbers, and that his family is very worried.

The video dates back to a meeting held at the International Christian Media Workers Summit in Kathmandu last March. Originally the movie was meant for Nepalese religious circles, but in mid-August it was uploaded to YouTube and became popular. In just a few days it got 750 thousand hits, then it was removed.

The fury of "haters" was unleashed on social media, says the pastor, by "the impression that I was offending the Hindu religion. But I don't hate anyone. I just wanted to have an honest conversation about my encounter with Christ. "

The man said he came from a Hindu family. At the age of 12 he entered a church in the Nepalese capital and remained to observe some Sri Lankan missionaries who preached.

"I listened to them - he says - while they talked about the love of God and the simplicity and humility of the love of Jesus. It was an overwhelming thing. I wondered how it was possible for Jesus to wash the feet of his disciples. Could a god be so humble? For me it was difficult to digest. My ancient gods were difficult to approach, instead Jesus seemed so reachable, simple and close. I welcomed him from that moment ”.

This story of his has aroused indignation. Ganesh Sreshta, lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in Nepal, explains that the issue "has become high-profile because some Hindu fundamentalist groups linked to powerful political leaders are interested in the video".

He adds  "Indian TV channels have a great impact On the Hindu population. Hindu extremism in Nepal is shaping by observing the actions of the fundamentalists of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) in India ”.

According to the lawyer, persecutions against Christians have increased in the country since the new Penal Code was approved. moreover art. 26 of the Constitution prohibits any attempt at forced conversions. "In the past - he points out - Christians were hit with false accusations of conversions practiced by force, while now they are indicted for having preached or spoken in public of their faith".