Nepal Christians demand burial grounds

March 24th, 2011 - 6:07 pm ICT by ANI  

Kathmandu, Mar.24 (ANI): Hundreds of minority Christians in Nepal have asked the government to provide them with designated burial grounds.

Christians complain that are only handful of places where they can bury their dead in the predominantly Hindu nation, where most corpses are cremated.

Christians were protesting as they were prevented from burying their dead in the grounds of the Hindu Pashupatinath Temple, which they have done for decades.

About 1,000 Christians protested in Kathmandu, some carrying banners, which read “Give us our rights, give us burial grounds”.

Pastor Sundar Thapa, who led the protest, said the Christian community wants government to provide space in all 75 districts of the country so that they can bury our dead according to Christian practices.

“If the government listens to our demands, we will continue peacefully living in this country and helping this country to develop. But if it doesn’t listen, then we will have to come on to the streets in coming days,” he said.

Christians have been protesting since a ban was imposed on a traditional burial area next to Katmandu’s Pashupati temple. The Supreme Court temporarily lifted the ban, but the dispute continues.

The BBC reports that, the government promised to find land near Kathmandu for Christian burials.

But no progress has been made so far in resolving the issue. Temple authorities have said that there is no space left for new graves.

Christian leaders have also been demanding that the government should formally recognize their status.

Hindus make up the majority of the population in Nepal. Christians comprise about 1.5 percent of the country’s 27 million people. (ANI)

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