Asia

Dead Space: Christians Demand Burial Land in Crowded Kathmandu

Nepal's Supreme Court due to rule Monday on Christian and Hindu lawsuits.

In unprecedented protests by Nepal's small Christian community, dozens formed a month-long chain fast demanding government allocation of land to bury their dead.

"We will continue the struggle until our demand is met," said Sundar Thapa, president of the Christian Advisory Committee for a New Constitution, which led the protests. "We are not asking for bread or jobs. At least our dead should have the right to have a dignified burial."

The protests in Kathmandu, which included a parade of coffins and the threat to parade dead bodies next, 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 have prevented further burials. The court has pledged to decide between competing Christian and Hindu lawsuits over a Christian cemetery on Monday. ...

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