Third Indian churchgoer hurt in Nepal blast is dead

June 1st, 2009 - 3:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, June 1 (IANS) A 45-year-old homemaker from Kerala became the third Indian churchgoer to die in Kathmandu valley’s Patan Hospital after sustaining grievous injuries during the blast in a Catholic church nine days ago.
Buddha Laxmi Joseph, who had come to Nepal almost 18 years ago along with her husband Baran Joseph and their three children in search of a better way of life, died of internal haemorrhage Sunday after fighting for life for a week.

The Joseph family is voiceless with grief. On May 23, when a shadowy militant organisation, the Nepal Defence Army (NDA), set off an explosion in the Assumption Church in Lalitpur during mass, Buddha Laxmi’s 15-year-old daughter Celeste was the first to be killed.

With the mother’s death, the toll climbs to three. All three victims are Indians, including Deepa Patrick, a 30-year-old who had come from Patna with her husband Vikash, on their honeymoon.

In the past, the NDA had bombed two mosques in southern Nepal and a church in Biratnagar city in the east of the country.

A handwritten pamphlet left at the church signed by NDA chief Ram Prasad Mainali said the blast was a warning to the nearly one million Christians in Nepal to leave. The NDA says it is seeking the restoration of Hinduism as the state religion in Nepal.

Last year, after an election, Nepal voted overwhelmingly to become a secular republic from being the world’s only Hindu kingdom.

Nepal’s new Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal began his tenure with a visit to the church and the two local hospitals where the injured were taken for treatment. Under him, the new government also announced the formation of a three-member police team to probe the attack and bring the guilty to justice.

However, there has been no arrest so far.

On Sunday, Christians marched in protest in the capital asking for security.

Media reports said Buddha Laxmi’s last rites would be conducted Tuesday.

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