Tension mounts in Nepal - Lord Pashupatinath's land encroached by Christians for Cemetary06/04/2011 08:21:20
Kathmandu: Tension is mounting between Sanathan Dharmis and Christians , Over Christian demand for burial ground in encroached land belonging to highly revered Pashupatinath temple.
On March 13, Chari Bahadur Gahatraj, a Protestant pastor and an influential member of the community, filed a writ with fellow Christian Man Bahadur Khatri, asking the apex court to halt the Pashupatinath Area Development Trust ‘s activities in the land , encroached by them.
Hindu activist Bharat Jangam filed a counter petition, saying non-Hindus should not be allowed to encroach on Hindu land.
"The forest is considered sacred by Hindus and is used by them to make offerings to their ancestors," Jangam reports Times of India. " If the Christians want a burial land, they should go to the government, not encroach on the land of a Hindu shrine that is also a Unesco-declared World Heritage site."
The minuscule Catholic community has distanced itself from the protests, saying they had no objection to cremation, which was being followed even in the west. Nepal's first Catholic bishop Anthony Sharma said Nepal being a tiny country, land was at a premium. When the living themselves did not have adequate land, there could be no objection to cremating the dead.
While Nepal’s minority Christian community continue to protest demanding burial grounds in the country, an already threatened local religious communities with the increasing activities of Christians since the declaration of the country as a secular state, have too become restive.
Reports have it that Hindu, Buddhists, Jain, Sikhs and Kirat religious groups, believers, and priests have jointly constituted ‘Maha Mandaleshwor National Religious Awareness Assembly’. The Assembly has demanded that to protect Nepal’s unique identity the country must be declared ‘Sanatan Hindu Nation.’
“We are not targeting any religious group as such, it is in the larger interest of the nation and people”, Assembly coordinator Shankar Pandey declared. “To preserve Nepal’s unique identity, our nationalism and territorial integrity we are organizing several programs”. On April 9, 2011, a Motorbike rally will be organized in several parts of the capital that will merge at Bankali of Pashupatinath temple. Similarly, April 14, 15, 16, a meeting will be held between various religious groups at Bankali.