Guest / Limited Access /

After spirited protests by Christians, Nepal authorities have finally conceded to their demand for a Christian cemetery amid a Hindu culture of cremation.

"We are happy," said Chari Bahadur Gahatraj, a leading pastor and secretary of the Christian Advisory Committee for a New Constitution, which led the protests. "We are now waiting to know the four corners of the burial land."

Gahatraj said the government ministries of culture and interior affairs have created a committee to identify land for a Christian cemetery in the crowded capital of Kathmandu. Another committee will study the feasibility of allocating land for Christian cemeteries in all of the Himalayan nation's 75 districts.

"It is a big victory for us," said pastor Gahatraj. "Our protests have borne fruit."

Months of Christian protests in Kathmandu, which included a parade of coffins and a chain fast, came after officials began strictly enforcing a ban on the longtime practice of Christian burials in the hills near the famous Pashupatinath Temple, one of Hinduism's most sacred shrines, in December. The nation's Supreme Court lifted the ban in March while the government explored solutions, but temple authorities prevented further burials.

Kathmandu lacks cemeteries because Hindus and most Buddhists in Nepal customarily cremate the dead. Christians prefer burial, but land is expensive.

The National Christian Council of Nepal opposed the campaign for burial land. "We want the government to be secular, [so] how could we demand land from the government?" said council president Kala Bahadur Rokaya. "Christians have their own land, but the problem is that there is strong objection [by neighboring Hindus] to burying the dead [there]. So Christians should fight for their rights ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueWhy Our Body Destroys Itself
Subscriber Access Only
Why Our Body Destroys Itself
The science and spirituality behind the latest Nobel Prize in medicine.
RecommendedNo Middle Ground: Evangelical Leaders Reject Compromise on LGBT and Religious Rights
No Middle Ground: Evangelical Leaders Reject Compromise on LGBT and Religious Rights
Scores sign statement against SOGI protections.
Trending‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List.
Editor's PickWomen’s March Sets Out to Exclude 40 Percent of American Women
Women’s March Sets Out to Exclude 40 Percent of American Women
What pro-life feminists actually have in common with their pro-choice counterparts.
Christianity Today
Nepal Agrees to Give Christians a Cemetery
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

July 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.