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 IssueMy Home Has 'Murder' in Its Name
Subscriber Access Only
My Home Has 'Murder' in Its Name
How Russell Jeung met Jesus among the Southeast Asian gangs of Oakland.
RecommendedPersecution in the Early Church: Did You Know?
Persecution in the Early Church: Did You Know?
Beginning as a despised, illicit religious sect, Christianity endured 300 years of hostility to emerge as the dominant force in the Roman Empire.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickRealizing My Addiction Had Chosen Me Began My Road to Recovery
Realizing My Addiction Had Chosen Me Began My Road to Recovery
Framing addiction as a chronic disease gives a broader framework for understanding.
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.