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Christians pressurize government for land

Controversy arose after burial plot in Kathmandu was declared off limits

Catholic priests blessing the body of a Catholic on the funeral pyre Catholic priests blessing the body of a Catholic on the funeral pyre
  • Chirendra Satyal, Kathmandu
  • Nepal
  • January 31, 2011
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Christians in Nepal have stepped up their campaign for the government to provide land for them to bury their dead.

On yesterday’s Martyr’s Day holiday, non-Catholic Pastors and activists belonging to a Christian advisory committee for the new Constitution organized an awareness program on the subject attended by human rights leaders and leaders of political parties including the main three Congress, Communist and Maoist parties.

The issue of burial for Christians has become a controversy since a piece of land in Kathmandu they had been using for the purpose was suddenly declared off limits for non-Hindus a month ago. In the absence of burial land of their own, Christians had started burying bodies there after the country was declared secular in 2006.

General secretary of the Christian advisory committee Pastor C. Bahadur Gahatraj said: “For two years, on behalf of the Christian community, we have been making formal requests to various offices of the government and even suggested some places in Kathmandu, but things have got worse over the years and we have been ignored.”

At the meeting leaders of all political parties made verbal assurances saying they would bring the matter to the urgent attention of their parties or constituent assembly members or support the Christians till the issue was resolved.

Pastor Isu Jung Karki, vice president of the Christian advisory committee, said: “I think the majority of Hindus and Buddhists are also with us.”

NP13086.1639
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