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Minister reassures Christians over rights

Guarantees made despite political uncertainty

Minister reassures Christians over rights
Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi has shown long-term support for minority groups (photo by Chirendra Satyal)
Chirendra Satyal, Kathmandu
Nepal

September 20, 2012

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Senior politicians yesterday reassured Nepalese Christians that the state will guarantee secularism, amid political uncertainty which has seen extended delays to a new constitution. Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Top Bahadur Rayamajhi told a meeting in Kathmandu that the government would abide by an agreement signed with the Christian Federation in May, safeguarding secularism in the predominantly Hindu country. “Among the things we have achieved after our long struggle for democracy is secularism. There is no chance of backtracking on that now,” he said at the event, which included about 1,000 Christians at one of Nepal’s oldest ecclesiastical buildings, Putalisadak Church. Rayamajhi, who has helped form a national Muslim commission since becoming a minister, is considered sympathetic to ethnic and religious minorities as a member of an interim government which has been weakened by the recent political upheavals. Elections have been delayed and the constituent assembly disbanded after lawmakers were unable to agree on a new constitution. “Your visit to this holy place has turned our pain and anxiety into hope and faith,” Vice-President of the Christian Federation Pastor Isu Jung Karki told the meeting, which included former parliamentarians. The latest edition of the monthly Christian Federation magazine Mahan Aviyan reported that the Maoist-dominated government continues to discriminate against Christians by donating millions of rupees every year to Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim places of worship, but not to churches. Related reports Extremists threaten to bomb church Secularism is assured
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