06/18/2011, 00.00
NEPAL
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Kathmandu, for the first time Christians included in Nepalese census

by Kalpit Parajuli
The operation, started yesterday by President Ram Baran Yadav, will also apply to non-Hindus. The declaration of secular state (2006), the Himalayan republic grants more recognition to religious minorities. Appeal of Christian leaders to declare religious faith without fear.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The Nepalese government has started the national census of population. And for the first time in the history of the country, the count - started June 17 - will also cover the faithful who do not profess the Hindu religion. Since the declaration of state secularism, enshrined in 2006, and 10 years after the last statistical survey, the Himalayan republic has gradually given greater recognition to religious minorities, including Christians, for their efforts for the welfare and development of nation.

In the past, all censuses were based only on Hindus. The decision to involve religious minorities, including Christians, has been welcomed by the rector of the Cathedral of the Assumption in Kathmandu, who calls the faithful to feel free to declare their Catholic faith.
In Nepal, there is still no exact estimate of the religion professed by the people. The Hindus claim to be about 80% of the population, Buddhists 18%, Muslims about 10%, Christians around 5% and so on, resulting in clearly erroneous data. However, the strong migration and the many cases of conversion have reduced the large percentage of Hindus in the country.

For the Protestant Bishop Narayan Sharma the opportunity to declare, without hesitation, their faith in Christ is a "positive step” and he calls on the Government to ensure a true "secular state". Praise also come from Uttam Narrayan Malla, director general of the Central Bureau of Statistics, for which it is "important" to provide information about religion.

Nepali President Ram Baran Yadav inaugurated the census operations, providing information about his family, and inviting the public to provide truthful statements that will be used in future by professors, researchers and experts from various fields. The data collection will be completed by June 27, thanks to the work of about 8 thousand people across the country.

In 2001 in Nepal, there were 23.2 million people, the growth rate is around 5.25%.
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