Nepali Christians fear that proposed amendments to Nepal’s new constitution, likely to come into effect by mid-August after seven years of parliamentary discussions, could eventually render all Christian activity illegal.
Christians are deeply concerned that the draft, though it affirms the right to profess and practise one’s own religion, criminalises evangelism and conversion.
Article 31(3) states that “any act to convert another person from one religion to another, or any act or behaviour to undermine or jeopardise the religion of another (will be) punishable by law.”
Christians are concerned that if the latest draft is passed, regular Christian activities – such as holding church services accessible to all, or even simply organising events to aid the disadvantaged – could be interpreted as evangelistic, and therefore punishable by law.
Once the world’s only Hindu kingdom, Nepal was declared a secular, democratic republic in May 2006. Hindu nationalists have run a highly successful propaganda campaign convincing Nepalis that ‘secularism’ will lead to mass conversions to the detriment of Nepalese culture.
Sources: Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin, Assist New Service.