Attempts to enshrine secularism in Nepal’s new constitution have stalled. Vishal Arora, who has covered Nepal for World Watch Monitor, reports that the four largest political parties “could not come to any conclusion on secularism” in the draft document, which is under consideration by the Constituent Assembly and expected to be promulgated later this month. It’s possible that negotiators will come to an agreement on the issue by then.
The Hindu Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, or RPPN, is pushing to have references to secularism dropped, though Arora notes it’s unlikely any attempt to codify Nepal as a Hindu nation would win approval from the Maoist party that threw off the country’s monarchy in 2008. The RPPN has close philosophical ties to the Bharatiya Janata Party, whose platform is built upon Hindu nationalism, in neighbouring India.
Christian groups already have expressed worries about provisions in the proposed document that would permit laws outlawing forced religious conversions. While Christians do not seek the freedom to force anyone to change religions, anti-conversion laws in India are routinely used to punish ordinary outward expressions of Christian faith.