Published: 12:00 GMT Daylight Time - Monday 09 July 2012
Extortion duo who threatened pastors in Nepal detained by police
Country/Region: South and East Asia, Nepal
“They had made the Christian community panic through bombing, kidnapping and death threats. However, timely response leading to their arrest has thwarted any untoward incident.”Police investigator
Police in Nepal have detained two members of an extortion racket who have been threatening to blow up pastors’ churches and kill their families if they fail to pay up.
Binod Kumar Tamang (29) of Kathmandu and Ramesh Pariyar (23) of Gorkha were caught in the act of extorting money from Sundar Thapa, chairman of the Federation of Nepali Christians and pastor of a church in Samakhusi.
They had repeatedly threatened to blow up Sundar’s church and kill his family if he did not pay the demanded sum of two million rupees (£14,500; US$22,500).
Tamang and Pariyar had issued bombing and kidnapping threats to other pastors in the Kathmandu Valley in their extortion campaign.
Fearful that the threats would be carried out, the victims sought help from the police.
Tamang and Pariyar have been charged with attempted kidnapping and extortion.
A Barnabas Aid partner in Nepal said that Christians face harassment in many forms, and expressed concern that the two detained men would be released.
Outright violence against Christians in Nepal is rare, but there have been a few incidents in recent years. The Nepal Defence Army, an extremist Hindu group that wants to reinstate the country’s Hindu monarchy, has detonated a bomb beside a Christian mission agency in Kathmandu, blown up a church in Lalitpur, killed a pastor and attacked other Christians.