Violent Wave of Church Attacks in Nepal Last Month

June 19, 2018

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In a spate of violent attacks, four Nepali churches were targeted during the month of May 2018.

On 10 May, the day after the conclusion of a youth conference at Hebron Church in Hilihang, eastern Nepal, attackers attempted to set fire to the building overnight. Earlier the same evening, a church in Bindur, western Nepal, was also targeted.

Christians now make up as much as 5% of the population of Nepal, which was officially a Hindu kingdom until 2008

Two days later, a church in Dhangadhi, in the west of the country, was bombed by an explosive device thrown into the building through a window. No Christians were reported injured. Local police insisted that the bombing was the work of Maoist groups, while church leaders suspect the attack was perpetrated by Hindu extremists. A few weeks before the bombing, a threat against churches had been published by Hindus in a local newspaper.

The same night as the attack on the church in Dhangadhi, a church in Kanchanpur in the far east of Nepal was set on fire. No one was harmed, but church furniture and other items were destroyed in the blaze.

Nepali government figures state that Christians comprise less than 1.5 per cent of the population. But a rapid growth in Christianity has taken place over the past few decades, with Nepali Christian leaders suggesting the figure may now be closer to 5 per cent.

Elements of the Hindu majority continue to campaign for Nepal to return to being a Hindu Kingdom, as it was before 2008, when the country officially became a secular republic.

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