Four Nepali Christians face trial for alleged forced conversion

8 April 2024

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Four Christians in Madhesh province, eastern Nepal, need supporting in prayer. They face trial, accused of trying to secure forced conversions to Christianity.

On 3 April the four believers were required to submit bail of 150,000 Nepali rupees (£895; $1,130; €1,043) at the district court in Bara.

The allegations stem from a visit the Christians were reported to have made to a non-Christian family on 10 March in the town of Kolhabi. Several local residents confronted the Christians at the house and summoned the police, alleging that they were attempting to convert locals by force.

Seven Australian Christians in the town were also detained and subsequently deported. Meanwhile, the four Nepali Christians spent 24 days in custody before being bailed.

“This is an outrageous case of injustice against all Christians,” said BP Khanal, spokesman for the Nepal Christian Society (NCS).

Whilst Nepal’s constitution guarantees religious and cultural freedom, a law came into force in 2018 that made it illegal to convert a follower of a religion “being practised since ancient times”, a ruling that protects Hindus and Buddhists but excludes Christians, who are either first- or second-generation believers.

Since 2018 more than 20 cases of persecution, including attacks on churches, have been reported, the NCS commented, saying that the true number is much higher.

A Barnabas contact confirmed that several other instances of harassment of Christians have occurred in recent weeks. Two foreigners were arrested and deported from Gulmi. A Nepali Christian in Pasupati and two others in Kathmandu were arrested but later released. Extremists have attacked Christians distributing literature and torn Bibles.   

Give thanks for the continued growth of the Church in Nepal. Pray for protection for believers facing harassment, for justice to prevail in the case of the four believers arrested and that any unfounded accusations of forced conversion will be dismissed.

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