Nepal Ends Hindu Rule, Missionaries Hope Situation will Improve

As Nepal ended the world’s only Hindu kingdom, Christian missionaries are hoping that the situation will improve.
( [email protected] ) May 25, 2006 12:00 PM EDT

As the Nepali government ended the world’s only Hindu kingdom, Christian missionaries working in the area are hoping that the political situation will improve.

“Now what's happening since they're saying it's a secular government, a secular nation, this means they're going to have to rewrite the constitution,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder and president of Gospel For Asia, to Mission Network News that often reports on evangelistic activities.

Years of fighting between government forces and communist Maoist rebels have placed a strain on the native house churches and Christians often founded themselves caught in the crossfire.

Christian Persecution watchdog often reported Maoist rebels capturing traveling native-evangelist for wandering into their territory, and extorting money from foreign missionaries.

Some are concerned that though the Nepali government has become secular, persecution of Christians may continue in the country with 80 percent Hindus.

“Will this mean freedom of religion? Will this mean freedom of speech? Will it mean that Christians (will) be able to testify their faith publicly without having to fear about being persecuted,” asked Yohannan, according to MNN.

Yohannan added that he fears Hindu extremists – whom often persecute Christians in India – may influence people in Nepal since the latter often depends on Indian food and medicine distribution.

The evangelist of 40 years says he hopes the new constitution would protect Nepali Christians and overseas missionaries.

“And my prayer…(is) that as they draft the constitution and make amendments and change everything, that they will give freedom of speech and people to share their faith without having to fear about going to jail or being abused,” said Yohannan to MNN.