Nepal Christians protest to demand burial grounds

AP News
Posted: Mar 23, 2011 1:03 AM
Nepal Christians protest to demand burial grounds

Hundreds of minority Christians protested in Nepal's capital on Wednesday, demanding the government provide them with designated burial grounds.

Christians complain that there are only a handful of places where they can bury their dead in the predominantly Hindu nation, where most corpses are cremated.

About 1,000 Christians held banners that read "Give us our rights, give us burial grounds" and demonstrated in the center of Katmandu.

"We are demanding the government provide burial grounds for all the Christians so that we can bury our dead with our Christian practices," said Sundar Thapa, a pastor who led the protest.

Thapa said they are demanding the government designate areas in all 75 districts of the country as Christian burial grounds.

Christians have been protesting since a ban was imposed earlier this year on a traditional burial area next to Katmandu's Pashupati temple, which is revered by Hindus in Nepal.

The supreme court has temporarily lifted the ban, but the dispute continues.

The government pledged last month that it would find land near Katmandu for Christians to bury their dead, but no progress has been made.

Hindus make up the majority of the population in Nepal, which was officially a Hindu nation until 2006. Christians comprise about 1.5 percent of the country's 27 million people.