The right-wing pro-Hindu Rastriya Prajatantra Party launched the initiative in all seven provinces with a conference in the capital Kathmandu on 27 February. The party has been calling for the reinstatement of a Hindu state and monarchy ever since Nepal became a secular republic in 2008.
The party’s two chairmen, Pashupati Shamsher Rana and Prakash Chandra Lohani, told a news conference that support in the Hindu-majority country for the idea of becoming a Hindu nation was growing and that it was important to give a platform to this sentiment, according to Asia News.
“We are very concerned about the campaign to restore Nepal as a Hindu state”, Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, told the news service. India is Nepal’s southern neighbour.
While Nepal is constitutionally secular, the Hindu faith is afforded special protection. Religious minorities, such as Christians, Muslims and Buddhists, are denied registration of their places of worship.
A new criminal code which came into effect in February 2018 has made matters worse, a human rights activist said in December. The new law carries a maximum 5-year prison term for anyone who tries to “convert anyone from one religion to another or make attempt to or abet such conversion”.
At the time of the law’s implementation, two members of Parliament warned religious freedom in the country was “teetering on the edge”.
Nepal, where Christians are thought to account for around 4 per cent of the population, is 32nd on the 2010 Open Doors World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian.