July 10, 2009, 12:00 - 1:30 PM - Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C. Headquarters
The Center for Religious Freedom
held a briefing on
Nepal: Rising Religious Intolerance and Communal Divide
Nishchal N. Pandey
Friday, July 10, 2009
12:00 – 1:30 P.M.
Nishchal N. Pandey directs the Centre for South Asian Studies in Kathmandu. Previously, he served as executive director of the Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA) under Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an advisor to the Nepalese government's National Planning Commission, and an editor of The Rising Nepal daily, among other posts. Mr. Pandey is also a member of the International Research Committee of the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS) in Colombo and lectures at Tribhuvan University and at the Nepal Army Command and Staff College in Shivapuri. In addition to his many other writings, he is author of the books Nepal's Maoist Movement and Implications for India and China (RCSS and Manohar Publishers, 2005) and India's North-Eastern States: Insurgency, Economic Development and Linkages with South East Asia (Singapore: ISAS, 2008).
Nepal's constitution guarantees freedom of religion for each of the country's religious denominations, but prohibits efforts to convert others, and foreign workers caught proselytizing have been expelled. Though officially changed in 2006 from a Hindu nation to a secular state, Nepal has recently seen a rise in Hindu extremism. Christian and Muslim religious minorities have been subjected to violent attacks by Hindu fundamentalist groups, such as the National Defense Army (NDA). On May 23, 2009, a bomb attack against Lalitpur's Catholic Church of the Assumption, claimed by the NDA, killed three people and wounded twelve. It was the first such attack against a Catholic church in Nepalese history. Days later, the NDA issued a call for all Christians to leave Nepal. Mr. Pandey will discuss this attack and the broader problem of Nepal's religious tensions, which are on the rise in an environment marked by increasing Hindu radicalism and growing influence from certain North Indian groups that promote fundamentalism for political purposes.
Click here to view Mr. Pandey's presentation
Betsy and Walter Stern Conference Center
1015 15th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
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