A Christian group in Nepal lobbying the government to establish rights for believers says Christians face major hardships in the Hindu-majority nation, such as not being allowed to share the Gospel and even being barred from burying their dead.
C.B. Gahatraj, general secretary of the Federation of National Christians, Nepal, spoke with The Christian Post through an interpreter in a phone interview on Thursday, where he said that in some reported cases, the remains of deceased Christians have been dug up from the ground and dumped at the homes of their relatives, or left out on the streets.
FNCN represents a number of local and national Christian mission and church organizations in Nepal, and says that it is the only group of its kind set up properly under the law, which allows it to engage directly with the government and be heard when lobbying for Christian issues.
Gahatraj told CP that one of the main hardships Christians have faced in the past few years has been getting the right to their own burial grounds.
Without a proper graveyard, Christians are forced to take the bodies to nearby forests at night, but there are legal consequences if they are caught.
What is more, if Christians bury their loved ones in land where they are not allowed, the local Hindu majorities force them to dig up the remains and relocate them somewhere else.
"When Christians die in Nepal, they have two pains. One is they suffer, they grieve because of their loved ones who are no more; secondly, they have no place to bury their loved ones," Gahatraj said.
"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."
The consequences for refusing to comply are gruesome.
"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 explained.
Gahatraj said that Christians have protested against such treatment by holding hunger strikes, include one to protest the burial ban in Kathmandu, the nation's capital.
"After 40 days of hunger and strike in Khatmandu, the government of Nepal came to us and we made a Three Point Document. Under that agreement, the government agreed to temporarily [allow] a cemetery for Christians," he said.
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