The Civil and Criminal Codes, which came into effect on 17 August to replace the General Code that was in place for 165 years, comprise a set of laws guiding civil and legal proceedings, including restrictions on religious conversion, in the Hindu-majority nation.
One new law states that anybody who encourages or is involved in religious conversion using any means will be booked under a criminal offence and will face a jail term of five years and a fine of 50,000 Nepalese rupees ($605). Any foreigner found guilty of encouraging or promoting religious conversions will be deported within a week.
Christian leaders believe the move is targeted at Christians, who have been accused of forceful proselytising of Nepalis, particularly those from vulnerable and lower castes. They fear the law will be used as a tool to harass and persecute Christian minorities for practising their religion.
Sources: International Christian Concern, UCANews