Nepal police arrest Christians accused of converting people to Christianity

People fetch water from a well near the debris of collapsed houses damaged during the April 2015 earthquake, in Bhaktapur, Nepal, March 18 2016. (PHOTO: Navesh Chitrakar)

Originally published in Christian Daily

On June 9, seven Christians participated in an extracurricular activity in school in which they distributed a handkerchief and a Bible handbook titled “A Great Story” to each of the 885 students. Local politicians told the police about the activity, leading to the arrest of the principals of Mount Valley Boarding School and Modern Nepal School, and some members of Christian group Teach Nepal, UCA News reports.

Local sources say the seven arrested Christians would be charged with committing an act of religious conversion by preaching to schoolchildren.

In addition, sources said the Christians were forced to promise not to do it again if they want to be released from prison. Christian church leaders are set to meet with the officials of the Home Ministry to discuss the early release of the seven arrested individuals.

Based on Article 26 (3) of the 2015 Nepalese Constitution, the act is prohibited in the country. The article says no one is allowed to convert a person to another religion or do anything that may “jeopardise” that person’s religion.

Christianity growing unexpectedly
Despite the tight situation in Nepal, Christianity is unexpectedly growing in the country. From zero in 1951, the census reflects that the number of Christians has grown to 458 in a span of ten years, Eric Metaxas says in an entry on Breakpoint.

Fast forward to forty years later, Christians in Nepal are now 102 000. In 2011, the number already ballooned to 375 000, and Nepalese Christian leaders believe that the actual figure is closer to 2.3 million, according to the International Institute for Religious Freedom.

The Nepalese government claims that Christianity in the country is growing at a rate of 1.5%, but the abovementioned figures clearly indicate that the actual growth rate is around 10%.

One of the reasons for the quick growth of Christianity in Nepal may be the difficulty in totally outlawing evangelism. Plus, the areas where Christians are flourishing are those that are not served by either the government or Hindu majority.

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