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 NEPAL: A call for prayer in matters of urgency

[b]NEPAL: A call for prayer in matters of urgency
[/b]
Greetings from Nepal!

At this point I want to call on your attention regarding what is going on in our country. Some people say that what goes on is a consequence which occurs because and is related to innocent blood crying out to heaven above, and I believe there is connection to what we see in the Bible. . .

None of the political leaders, who were directly involved in the mass murders, putting so many innocent people to death, have asked for forgiveness for what they have done during the insurgency period. And none of us, from national level leaders to the lay-leaders in grass-root local churches, have publicly confessed and pleaded for God’s mercy. Now, we could imagine how the situation appears and turns against us!

The entire Nation has been suffering from drought, there was no sufficient rain for long, and the farmers were in pain of planting in the dust! And now there is rain, just partial, and yet we have lost dozens of lives in floodings and landslides. God help us to see what causes this to fall over us!

I assume, you are aware of the epidemic situation which broke out about three months ago. In some districts in the western hilly region the situation worsens now due to epidemic cholera and diarrhoea. The Health efforts seem to be of no value as to gaining control. It is spreading day and night, and has entered into the capital city, Kathmandu too.

The Government of Nepal, including all its efforts, are failing to control it. It is reported that people are just carrying their loved ones to the riversides where they cremate the dead bodies, one after the other. Reports indicate about 200 deaths already, and over 2000 are in health-care beds fighting for their lives.

Now, here comes our duty and responsibility as Christian. A leading Christian forum in Nepal – Christian Advisory Committee for New Constitution – with the consent of other most prominent leaders has agreed to communicate to all concerned (Nepalese in the country and abroad) to raise help to bring necessary relief. The Nepal Govt. has opened a fund – “The Prime Minister Relief Fund” for the purpose of urgent deposits.

And, more than that, we are encouraged to call out to you all for your prayers joining with ours, interceding for God’s mercy and comforts and to bring peace to this Nation once again.

Thank you!
Sincerely Attempting New Things For God
BP Khanal
Member Secretary & Media Coordinator
Christian Advisory Committee for New Constitution, Kathmandu



[b]NEPAL: CHRISTIANS INCREASINGLY VULNERABLE IN SECULAR STATE[/b]

As law and order breaks down, Christians come under attack.

Three years after a pro-democracy movement led to the proclamation of Nepal as a secular state, some Christians say they are in greater peril than ever.

They are now being targeted by militant Hindu organizations that blame the church for the abolition of Hinduism as the state religion and the end of monarchy. A little-known, shadowy organization that claimed to be building an army of suicide bombers has achieved notoriety with two brutal attacks on Catholics in two years.

Since May, when the Nepal Defense Army (NDA) – which claims to have links with militant Hindu organizations across the border in India – struck one of Kathmandu valley’s oldest and biggest churches, the group has threatened to drive all Christians from the country. And now a group claiming to be the parent organization of the NDA has warned that on Aug. 10 it will start a “Save the Hindu nation” movement.

Police say Ram Prasad Mainali, the elusive NDA chief, hired a local woman to plant a bomb at the Assumption Church on May 23 during mass. Two women and a schoolgirl were killed in the attack. The NDA also claimed responsibility for killing a Catholic priest, John Prakash Moyalan, in southern Nepal last year.

Though police have issued an alert for his arrest, Mainali continues to evade capture, and it is murmured that he has political connections. Undeterred by the hunt, he continues to threaten the Christian community.

Last month, the Rev. Pius Perumana, a senior Catholic priest, received a phone call.
“The caller said he was in charge of the NDA in Kathmandu valley,” said Perumana of Ishalaya Catholic Church, located in Godavari on the southern rim of the capital. “However, I recognized the voice. It was Ram Prasad Mainali himself.”

Godavari is an important Catholic hub that includes a Catholic pastoral center, a shelter for destitute, HIV-infected women and homeless children, a day care center and a small clinic.

Perumana said he has received at least five threatening calls from the Hindu supremist ordering him to close all Christian organizations and leave Nepal, he said. The NDA leader has also been calling Protestant pastors, demanding money. In districts outside Kathmandu, where security is weak, some pastors are said to have paid up out of fear.

Mainali’s success has spawned at least one copycat extortion attempt.
“At least one pastor in Kathmandu has received an extortion letter,” said Chirendra Satyal, spokesman of the Assumption Church. “The writer claimed to be the vice-president of a Hindu group, the National Defence Party (NDP), calling it the mother organization of which Mainali’s NDA was the military arm. The pastor was asked to pay 7.5 million Nepalese rupees [US$98,190].”

The letter warned that starting on Aug. 10, the underground organization will start a “Save the Hindu nation” movement.

No Christian Corpses

Until three years ago, Nepal used to be the only Hindu kingdom in the world where Christians faced discrimination by the state, ostracization by society and imprisonment if found guilty of preaching Christ.

Things officially changed in 2006 after a pro-democracy movement led to the ouster of the army-backed regime of Hindu King Gyanendra, and Parliament proclaimed the Himalayan kingdom a secular, federal state.

But three years later, nothing has changed in reality, said the Rev. Nayaran Sharma, bishop of the Protestant Believers’ Church.
“We bought a plot of land in a forest in Gorkha district in western Nepal so that we could have an official graveyard,” Sharma told Compass. “But when the locals heard of it, they made us return the land, saying they did not want corpses in their midst as they would attract evil.”

Even three years after Nepal became secular, Christians have to be buried clandestinely on private property with the danger of graves being dug up, he said.

“Churches have not yet been registered by the government, and so we don’t get state assistance like the Hindu temples and Muslim mosques do,” Sharma said. “Temples are provided free land, electricity and water; the madrassas – the Muslim schools – receive state funding, and the government subsidizes the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.”

Christians make up about 2.5 percent of Nepal’s 25 million population. Nearly 75 percent of the population in Nepal is Hindu.

Christians are said to be both angered and disheartened by the new, 601-member constituent assembly mandated to draft a new constitution by May 2010.
“There’s not one Christian among the 601, though the government had the power to nominate members from unrepresented communities,” Sharma said. “Though Christianity has been in Nepal for almost 350 years, Christians are still like orphans. There is no one to speak for us, and we are discriminated against beyond imagination.”

Soft Targets
Political instability and the subsequent lawlessness and impunity leave Christians vulnerable to violence, as Sanjay Ekka, a Catholic priest from India’s impoverished Jharkhand state, learned on Monday (July 27).

Ekka came to Nepal in 2000 to teach at St. Xavier’s School, a Jesuit-run school in eastern Jhapa district. Five years ago, he was brought to the capital city of Kathmandu to run the Loyola Students’ Home, a hostel for boys from the Tamang community of Nepal, who, like Ekka’s own tribe, the Oraons, are among the poorest, least educated and most oppressed groups in Nepal.

Despite the similarities of the two tribes, the 40-year-old Ekka was subjected to a savage attack on Monday (July 27) by an expelled student that left his left arm severely slashed and deep gashes on his hip.

“It’s another sign of the growing lawlessness in the country,” says the Rev. Lawrence Maniyar, former principal of St. Xavier’s School in Kathmandu valley, which was founded in 1951. “With crimes soaring, Christians are being targeted as they are seen as soft targets.”

Another factor endangering Christians in Nepal is the tension in the nascent republic’s relations with its southern neighbor and largest trading partner, India. As the smaller neighbour, Nepal has lived in fear of being annexed since 1975, when the kingdom of Sikkim decided to abrogate monarchy and become part of India after a controversial referendum.
Tensions worsened in 1989, when India imposed a virtual blockade of Nepal, hitting the fragile economy of the land-locked kingdom. A substantial number of Christian priests in Nepal are from India.

“The heads of three Catholic organizations have been asked to leave Nepal,” said Bishop Anthony Sharma. They are the Rev. Boniface Tigga, principal of St. Xavier’s School in Kathmandu valley, the principal of St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School, identified only as Sister Nancy, and Sister Teresa Mandassery, who heads the Navjyoti Day Care Center for the mentally challenged in Kathmandu. All three are from India.

“Now the animosity is out in the open,” said Maniyar of St Xavier’s in Kathmandu valley. “There has been growing union trouble in St. Xavier’s School. While we were holding talks with the union representatives, they told us to our face, ‘You priests from Kerala [in southern India] think you can run the school the way you want.”

Maniyar said it is useless trying to explain reality to such people.
“We are in Nepal not because we are Indians,” he says. “We are here because we are Jesuits. It is an international organization with an administrative structure of its own, and we have to follow our superiors and go where ever they want us to.”


Source: Intercessors Network
http://intercessors.wordpress.com/

 2009/8/5 17:12
Lordoitagain
Member



Joined: 2008/5/23
Posts: 600
Monroe, LA - USA

 Re: NEPAL: A call for prayer in matters of urgency

THANKS for posting!


_________________
Michael Strickland

 2009/8/5 18:44Profile









 Re:

Here is some more information from Intercessors Network on Nepal:


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In this issue:
Nepal Maoists issue new warning
Q&A: Nepal’s future
Reclusive past of Nepal’s new PM
Who are Nepal’s Maoist rebels?



Nepal Maoists issue new warning
By Joanna Jolly

The Maoist party in Nepal has issued a deadline of Thursday for the government to resolve a crisis that led to its resignation from power this year.
It says that if the government does not meet its demands, it will start a series of nationwide protests.
The Maoists say that they are not satisfied with the way the government has handled the situation.
Maoist PM Prachanda resigned in May after his decision to sack the army chief was overruled by the president.
The Maoists have described Dr Ram Baran Yadav’s move as unconstitutional – and have demanded that the issue be debated in parliament.

‘A dictator’
“The president acted above the law,” Maoist committee member Dev Gurung said.
“He is trying to become a dictator, which is not what we want.”

But the coalition government that took over from the Maoists says that the matter has already been discussed thoroughly by all of Nepal’s political parties.
“All the other parties in Nepal have collectively taken the decision that the presidential action was correct and in keeping with civilian supremacy,” said Ram Sharan Mahat of the Nepali Congress party, which is part of the new coalition government.
“As far as we’re concerned, the issue has already been resolved.”

If the Maoists’ demand for further debate is not met, they have threatened to begin a series of parliamentary and civil protests, including mobilising supporters onto the streets.
Many Nepalis see this threat as a bid for power by the Maoists, who won Nepal’s first democratic election last year.

“The real issue is not the sacking of the army chief. The real issue is that the new government has come in and it’s expanding its networks and it’s using state resources to build credibility among the population,” says Aditya Adhikari, opinion editor of daily newspaper The Kathmandu Post.
“The Maoists are worried that they are going to be marginalised from the political picture and they’re going to lose the gains that they’ve made over the past couple of years.”

Other commentators believe the Maoists’ action could threaten Nepal’s ongoing peace process, which ended 10 years of civil war between the Maoists and the state.
As the deadline approaches, neither the Maoists nor the government say they are prepared to compromise.
If an agreement is not reached, the Maoists say they will begin their campaign of disruption on Friday – August 07.



Q&A: Nepal’s future

Nepal remains in political turmoil after Maoist Prime Minister, Prachanda, resigned in May following a dispute over the sacking of the head of the army.
The Maoists were unhappy after the president blocked the Maoist-led government’s attempt to sack the chief.
Additional troops have been deployed in key areas of the capital, Kathmandu, amid almost daily clashes between demonstrators and security forces in May.
The other major political parties have been holding talks to try to form a national government with Maoist support.

Would a unity government bring calm in Nepal?
Much depends on whether the political parties can create a sense of stability amid continuing Maoist street protests over Prachanda’s resignation. President Ram Baran Yadav has asked parties represented in the constituent assembly to stake their claim to form a new government on the basis of consensus.
But so far there are no signs of the major parties being able to bury their differences and join hands to form a unity government. In that case, a candidate who can command a simple majority in the 601-member constituent assembly will become the next prime minister.
It is likely that the Maoists, along with the Nepali Congress, the CPN (UML) and Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum will all have a major role in choosing the next PM.

What are the chances of the Maoists returning to violence?
Remote. That’s because their leader Prachanda, while resigning from his post on 3 May, repeatedly said that his party was committed to the peace agreement signed in November 2006.
But Maoist leaders are saying that they won’t allow anyone to form a new government unless their decision to sack the army chief is implemented. The standoff could turn into street agitation and even anarchy. Geo-political realities such as the toughening attitude of India towards the Maoists should prevent the rebels from leaving the path of peace.

What do the latest developments mean for the people of Nepal?
Nepalese people in general are frustrated and worried. They had hoped for a peace dividend after the end of the armed conflict but inflation has now touched double digits. Power outages, scarcity of drinking water and frequent shutdown strikes are common.
The law and order situation, especially in the southern parts of the country, is very fragile and unemployment is rising.

Where does the latest uncertainty leave plans to integrate ex-Maoist combatants into the Nepalese army?
The head of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), Karin Landgren, recently told the BBC that the peace process was now going through one of its most difficult periods.
She said that all activities (as envisaged under the peace process) were now stalled. That no doubt includes efforts to integrate and rehabilitate ex-Maoist combatants.

When will the new constitution be signed?
The constituent assembly has set a deadline of May 2010 to formulate a new constitution. There is a provision that all the articles in the new constitution must be endorsed by two-thirds majority of the assembly. In the present scenario, that looks unlikely, so the prospects for a new constitution remain in limbo.

How strong are the Maoists?
The results of last year’s elections astonished everyone, including the Maoists, who had been expecting, at best, to be the third biggest party. Because of that, they had insisted that many of the seats be decided by proportional representation, rather than first-past-the-post. The Maoists emerged as the main party with 220 of the 601 constituent assembly seats but would have done much better without proportional representation.

Why did the Maoists suspend their armed struggle in November 2006?
The Maoists called a ceasefire after the now deposed King Gyanendra ended his controversial direct rule in April 2006 and restored parliament. The king backed down after weeks of strikes and protests against his rule.
Political parties promised to work with the Maoists as a prelude to bringing them into government.

Why did the king back down and agree to reconvene parliament?
The short answer was the sheer size of the demonstrations against him - some of the biggest that the country ever witnessed.
Faced with this vast display of people power, the king had no choice but to back down or the country would have descended into anarchy, analysts say.
Observers say with international pressure mounting on him and the mood among his opponents at home hardening, particularly after the deaths of a number of protesters at the hands of the security forces, the king had few other options.
The parliament that was in place up until the April 2008 elections effectively reduced the monarchy to a ceremonial role. It also ended Nepal’s status as a Hindu state and turned it into a secular state.

Why did the king seize power in February 2005?
He accused Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s government of failing to win the support of the Maoist rebels for a deadline for peace talks and of failing to prepare the ground for elections in the spring of 2005.
However, analysts suggest the king might have been using these issues to strengthen his own role in Nepalese politics, perhaps seeking to create an absolute monarchy. Whatever his intentions, his plans backfired and he found himself removed as monarch, having in effect catalysed his opponents and the rebels into forging peace.

How strong were the Maoists as a fighting force?
At the height of their insurrection, the Maoists were virtually in control of most of rural Nepal. They were capable of launching enforced blockades of major towns and cities, showing they had the power to paralyse the economy. In the cities, their support has never been strong.

What was the human cost of the conflict?
More than 13,000 people were killed in violence in Nepal when the insurgency began, many of them civilians caught in cross-fire with security forces. Both sides in the conflict were frequently accused of carrying out human rights abuses.



Reclusive past of Nepal’s new PM

The new prime minister of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, 54, is better known under his nom-de-guerre of Prachanda (Fierce One).
The former agriculture student, born in the Annapurna region of Nepal, is the undisputed leader of the Maoists and during their bloody 10-year war against the monarchy was the supreme commander of their army. Now the guerrilla-turned-constitutional politician has reached the highest office in his country.

All this is a far cry from just over a decade ago, when the Maoists were a poorly armed rag-tag rebel group which few believed posed a serious challenge to Nepal’s constitutional monarchy.
More than 13,000 people died in the civil war in the impoverished Himalayan nation which culminated in the king relinquishing his absolute powers and being forced to give up his throne in June 2008.

Until recently, very little was known about Prachanda. Nepalis knew him from only a couple of photographs.
The former rebel leader has three daughters and a son, who all support the Maoist movement. His wife, whom he met through the party, is also a Maoist official.

‘School-teacher’
In the past, Nepali journalists would from time to time interview Prachanda’s widowed father, who himself had not seen his son for years.
The rebel leader was rarely seen in public and is believed to have frequently slipped between India and Nepal over the long, porous border.

During his first ever television interview to the BBC in January 2006, Prachanda looked more like the school teacher he once was - moustached, bespectacled and with a slight paunch.
The BBC’s Charles Haviland, who conducted the interview, said he came across as surprisingly mild-mannered and shy - more humorous than intimidating and without the charisma of some revolutionary leaders.

All this stands in sharp contrast to the perception of him as a ruthless leader during the Maoist rebellion who was responsible for executions and terrorising swathes of Nepal’s population.
His number two, Baburam Bhattarai, with a cloth cap and eagle eyes, and often seen alongside Prachanda, fits much more easily with the traditional view of what revolutionaries should look like.

But few have doubted that beneath Prachanda’s mild-manner there lies a tough interior.
Evidence of that was clearly seen in his success as a guerrilla commander - for the last decade he has been undisputed leader - and his uncompromising stand against the monarchy.

Puritanical
The Maoists participated in the country’s first parliamentary elections in 1991 but their disenchantment with political squabbling and anger at the plight of the rural poor prompted them to take up arms.
Their performance then was in contrast to April 2008, when they emerged as by far the biggest party in elections to a new constituent assembly.

Prachanda derived his inspiration from Peru’s Shining Path rebels and dreamt of setting up a communist republic. He envisaged the erosion of class, caste and gender barriers.
But he has also been described as puritanical, outlawing alcohol, gambling and “vulgar literature” from India and the United States. But as talks with the government progressed - following a peace deal in 2006 that brought an end to the king’s direct rule - signs emerged that he was willing to compromise.

The Maoist leader reassured doubters that he was willing to take part in democratic elections and would accept the results of the vote.
After his party emerged as winner, one of his first moves was to reassure foreign investors and privately-run businesses that he would not eradicate the private sector.

Now that he is in government, Prachanda has much work to do. The long insurgency has worsened chronic poverty in Nepal which, like other countries in the region, is suffering from rising food prices and high unemployment.



Who are Nepal’s Maoist rebels?
By Alastair Lawson

Just when it seems that revolutionary communism has all but disappeared in the world, Nepal’s Maoist rebels seem to grow stronger and stronger. It is estimated that they now have between 10,000 to 15,000 fighters, and are active across the country, with many parts completely under their control.

So how did the rebels transform themselves from a small group of shotgun-wielding insurgents in 1996 to the formidable fighting force they are today? The disillusionment of the Maoists with the Nepalese political system began after democracy was re-introduced in 1990.

Shining Path
Many who are key figures in the rebel movement today played a role alongside mainstream political parties in over-throwing Nepal’s absolute monarchy.
Although they participated in the country’s first parliamentary elections, their disenchantment with ceaseless political squabbling - and their anger at the plight of the rural poor - prompted them to take up arms.

In doing so, there is little doubt that the two key rebel leaders, Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai, derived their inspiration from Peru’s Shining Path rebels.
Both men wanted to emulate the Shining Path’s stated objective of destroying government institutions and replacing them with a revolutionary peasant regime.

As with the Shining Path, Nepal’s Maoists deal with dissent ruthlessly. Human rights groups say that like the security forces, they are guilty of numerous summary executions and cases of torture.
The Nepalese Maoists have also made some “homegrown” modifications to Maoist ideology.

Caste resentment
They argue that what makes them different from other communist parties in the country is that they want a complete revamp of the multiparty democratic system as part of a programme aimed at turning the country into a Marxist republic.
But on this issue there is some ambiguity, because in the past Maoist negotiators have hinted that they will abandon this demand so that the peace process can be kick-started. In fact the only area where they have stayed consistent is in their demand for an end to Nepal’s constitutional monarchy.

Another key grievance of the rebels was the resentment felt by lower caste people against the authority wielded by the higher castes.
The Maoists say that the reason they have so much support is because most of their supporters have traditionally been treated as second-class citizens or worse.

Many analysts say this is the real explanation as to why such a seemingly anachronistic movement has made such dramatic headway.
Unquestionably there is a substantial number of people in Nepal who see the Maoists as the only genuine alternative to the old, repressive social order.

The first Maoist attack is believed to have taken place in 1996, when six government and police outposts were attacked simultaneously in mid-western Nepal. Similar attacks took place on a regular basis in the same area over the next few years.
Initially the rebels were not taken seriously at all by the government, diplomats, journalists or the all-pervasive aid agencies that dominate Nepal’s economy. They were lightly armed and not considered a genuine military threat.

Rebel abductions
But since then they have become one of South Asia’s most potent rebel groups, rivalling the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka.
Today the Maoists are well organised, and the firepower at their disposal greater than ever.

Rifles and explosives have been stolen from captured police outposts and it is believed that the country’s open border with India has made it easier to smuggle arms and money.
So powerful have the Maoists become that few dare defy them when they call a general strike in Kathmandu. The rebels’ threat to cut off the city from the rest of the country can no longer be considered an idle one.

In the summer of 2004, the rebels abducted hundreds of school children for a week-long “re-education” course on Maoist ideology right under the noses of the security forces on the outskirts of Kathmandu.
The Maoists may not yet have the strength to win their “People’s War” but they are too strong to lose it. As one analyst put it, the government appears to be caught in a classic catch-22 situation.

Until there is substantial social and economic development in the areas of the countryside where the Maoists hold sway, the insurgency will continue.
But development cannot happen until the government gains even limited access to these areas, and access can only be achieved by using highly unpopular and potentially counterproductive military means against a well-organised guerrilla army.


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 2009/8/6 18:34





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