Nepal Churches Live Under Constant Threat

by | Aug 19, 2011 | Charisma Archive

AP Images/Gemunu Amarasinghe

pouring rain and flooded streets, over two dozen people have gathered
faithfully at the Putalisadak Church in the heart of capital city
Kathmandu for the regular Thursday evening Bible study class,
bringing a smile of satisfaction on the face of Pastor Dev Kumar

The smile fades, however, when he talks about the
problems that Nepal’s second-oldest church has faced due to
government discrimination. Hundreds of other churches scattered
through the former Hindu kingdom have faced the same problem.

roots of the discrimination are imbedded in history. When four
missionaries from neighboring India’s Kerala state came to
Kathmandu Valley and founded the Bethshalom Putalisadak Church in
1953, preaching non-Hindu religions was a punishable offense. A
powerful Nepalese aristocrat, Col. Nara Raj Shumsher Jung Bahadur
Rana, who had secretly converted to Christianity in India, helped
build the Protestant church on land bought in his name and those of
two others.

“As per the old laws, churches were not
allowed to register as religious institutions,” said Chari Bahadur
Gahatraj, a Protestant pastor. “They functioned either as
Non-Governmental Organizations [NGOs] or personal properties. In
2006, when Parliament formally declared Nepal secular, we thought it
would change and churches would be recognized as religious

Five years later, however,
discrimination against Christians continues, Gahatraj said.

have not even been mentioned in the new policies and programs of the
government proposed in Parliament this year,” he said.

Putalisadak church suffered a crisis when two of the men who were
co-owners of the land went to court to reclaim their share. The
church land had to be carved up to resolve the dispute. Then it
suffered another blow when the land it had bought with donations from
parishioners in Lele village in neighboring Lalitpur district to
build a cemetery 10 years ago could not be used due to fierce
resistance by locals.

“This is the saddest story,” Pastor
Chetri said. “Our church records indicate there are nearly 2
million Christians and about 4,000 churches in Nepal now. But most of
them don’t have a final resting place, as Christianity is still not
recognized in Nepal. It is as if we don’t exist.”

of the number of Christians in Nepal is lower than the church’s –
850,801 – but the latest edition estimates a higher number of
congregations, 9,780, than the Putalisadak church does.

third-oldest church in Nepal, Nepali Isahi Mandali, founded in 1957,
was also dragged to court by a resentful neighbor.

“When our
congregation started growing, in 2006 we started building a bigger
hall to accommodate them,” said Pastor Samuel Karthak. “But it
was opposed by a neighbor, who went to court. The dispute went up to
the Supreme Court before it was resolved. We would have felt so much
more secure if the churches had been recognized as religious
institutions. However, we are still regarded as second-class
citizens, and churches as places that exist only to convert people.
We still don’t have a voice.”

Stung by government apathy,
Christians this month joined forces with other excluded religious
communities like Buddhists and Muslims to begin a campaign seeking an
end to religious discrimination.

The Inter-Religious
Secularism Protection Movement (IRSPM) is asking the government to
allow churches, mosques, Buddhist monasteries and all other
institutions run by religious minorities to be registered as
religious institutions and be exempted from paying taxes.

ratifying several international conventions and despite becoming
secular, Nepal has not recognized Buddhist monasteries, mosques,
churches, Sikh gurdwaras [worship
halls] and other religious institutions belonging to the religious
minorities as religious trusts,” said Ishu Jung Karki, IRSPM’s
acting coordinator. “Instead, it is nurturing laws that promote one
particular religion.”

The campaigners are demanding that the
government amend the draft of a new penal code that has triggered
widespread controversy and condemnation over the inclusion of clauses
that make conversions a punishable offense. Instead, they are asking
for a new Religion Act as well as Religion Commission to resolve
religious disputes.

make up 2.85 percent of the population of Nepal, a nation that is 16
percent Buddhist and 4.4 percent Muslim; Hindus are the majority at
75 percent, according to Operation

the first time, Christians and other religious minorities are seeking
proportional representation in all state organs such as the army,
judiciary and civil service on the basis of population. Though
Nepal’s new Parliament has 601 seats with the provision that the
prime minister should nominate representatives from unrepresented
communities, the stipulation has been virtually ignored. Most ignored
have been Christians.

The campaign has also expressed concern
at strident propaganda by a section of the Nepalese media against
religious minorities; these media representatives say the religious
minorities’ proposals aim to spread “envy, hatred and strife.”
The Christian community has been especially alarmed by a recent
article in a popular English daily, authored by the editor of a
financial newspaper, who alleged that all international NGOs that had
set up office in Nepal aimed to propagate Christianity.

the greatest concern by Christians is about the delay in promulgating
a new constitution that was to have bolstered the nascent republic’s
secular status. The major political parties failed to meet two
deadlines – one last year and one in May – to get the charter
ready. A third deadline looms on Aug. 31, and it is evident that not
even the first draft of the document will be ready.

inordinate delay has given militant Hindu groups time to push for the
restoration of Hinduism as the state religion and for a referendum to
decide if Nepal should remain secular.

government should implement the new constitution by Aug. 31,” reads
an IRSPM press statement. “That is the mandate of the people as
well as the pro-democracy movement.”

pro-democracy movement ended Hindu King Gyanendra Shah’s
army-backed rule and brought the political parties to power.


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

All of us at some point will hit a place of getting the wind knocked out of us. We all experience unexpected detours and times when there seems to be no way out. But there is One who lives in us, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us the strength to overcome obstacles....

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Whether it is the Spirit leading or forbidding in the book of Acts, or the Spirit leading throughout Christian history, it’s clear that the leading of the Spirit is important. In the Old Testament, it appears that the Spirit of God could be withdrawn completely from...

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Everyone has a race to run. That just means we all have a life to live. The apostle Paul says in Hebrews 12:1 (NIV), “Therefore...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for...

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am the Consuming Fire’

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am the Consuming Fire’

God says that during this season, He is turning up the heat, finding the gold and bringing His refining fire. Job makes a powerful statement of faith as he says of the Lord, "When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold." God knew Job's heart and Job knew the heart...

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

In 1971, I was invited to spend one month in Singapore at a new institute that had been started by John Haggai. It was still in the formative stages then—a place where Asian church leaders would be trained and challenged to witness for Christ. Today, more than 40...

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

It was a Pentecost bloodbath and most Christians never heard about it. More than 50 Christians were killed in one of the deadliest terror attacks on Nigerians this year. Scores of gunmen rushed in to kill Christians in the midst of worship. All told, over 360 million...


Prophecy: A Window of Time Has Opened for Believers to Preach the Truth

I was rejoicing and praising God on Friday, June 24, 2022, for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, knowing that an ungodly decree was overturned and one national curse was broken. I heard by the Holy...
The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

In 1998, God gave me a life-changing vision of hell. I receive many questions about my experience from people all over the world, but one question I'm often asked is, "Who did you see in hell?" There are others who say they've had an experience like mine, and they...

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

One of the most amazing facts about the Founding Fathers of our nation is this: The one referred to as the "voice" of the revolution (John Adams) and the one referred to as the "pen" of the revolution (Thomas Jefferson) both died on the same day—July 4, 1826—exactly...

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

It’s a question I frequently hear. It’s one I’ve asked. And maybe it’s one you’ve asked, too. The question is, “God, why did You give this to me?” This can be any number of issues, from emotional or psychological struggles to symptoms or sicknesses, disabilities or...

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

I sense it. And I perceive a growing number of people in massive proportions sense the increasing momentum of power and might worldwide. Something is on the horizon—something more eerie and ominous than what the people of the world have ever before experienced. Even...

Pin It on Pinterest