South Asia

Christians protest against burial ban in Nepal

The Federation of National Christian Nepal (FNCN) presenting the memorandum to Home Minister Janardan Sharma. Photo: FNCN

Christians leaders this week called on the Nepal government to address urgent issues faced by Nepal’s Christians, especially a ban on burying their dead.

(3 October 2017) on urgent issues being faced by the Christian community in Nepal. A team was led by Mr. C.B. Gahatraj, the President of the Federation.

Gahatraj called on the government to address the lack of graveyard land for the community and called for implementation of decisions taken in earlier agreements between the Government of Nepal and the Christian community – the Three-point agreement and the Six-point agreement.
The Home Minister accepted the memorandum and assured FNCN that, he would play a “necessary role in the implementation of the Agreement” calling the demands of the Christian community “genuine”.
“If Hindus find Christians buried in their area, they force Christians to dig them out from the graveyard, and bury the bodies in another place.
“If Christians refuse to dig out the bodies of their relatives, in some cases Hindu radicals have themselves dug out the bodies, and taken the bodies to the Christian relatives’ home, and in other cases have just left the dead bodies on the streets,” he declared.
Christians had protested against such treatment include one to protest the burial ban in Kathmandu, the nation’s capital by holding hunger strike which went on for 40 days.
Nepal has no burial sites for most non-Hindu communities. The forested land is open for burial only to a Hindu sect.
Christians and Kirats were not allotted a burial site of their own thus they had been burying their dead clandestinely in the forest.
Kapil Shrestha, a noted human rights activist was reported as quoting, “What are these people to do then? Feed the dead bodies to animals?”
“After 40 days of hunger and strike in Kathmandu, the government of Nepal came to us and we drafted a Three Point Document. Under that agreement, the government agreed to temporarily [allow] a cemetery for Christians,” he said.
Gahatraj stated that the government has not yet implemented what was discussed, and believers have not received any benefits so far.