Religious nationalism Nepal | 07 September 2023

Nepal: The dangerous influence of India’s religious nationalism and ethnic clashes

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As reported by The Nepal Times on 27 July 2023, journalists at a convention in Kathmandu on 26 July 2023 expressed their alarm at how the nationalistic Hindutva ideology of India's ruling BJP has been seriously influencing Nepali politics.

World Watch Research analyst Rolf Zeegers comments: “The fact is that, from an economical viewpoint, Nepal is more or less dependent on India. Nepal is one of the few countries besides India where Hinduism is the dominant religion and now many Hindu radicals think the time has come to impose a similar government in Nepal as in India. With increasing frequency, Nepal is beginning to see the physical harassment of Christians and damage to churches and Christian properties similar to the sort of incidents occurring in India on a regular basis. Reports of such violence are often in the form of Facebook posts, for instance: 30 August 2023, - Three churches attacked in Nawalparasi, Ramgram municipality territory. The Hindu nationalist movement, Hindu Samrat Sena, has also become very aggressive in their actions towards Christians in the border areas. Some observers consider the danger very real that violence could escalate if the influence of Hindutva continues to grow in the country.”

Rolf Zeegers adds: “Nepal’s major newspaper, the Kathmandu Post, wrote on 7 August 2023 about the ethnic clashes in India's Manipur. Nepal is comparable to Manipur geographically and historically in the way the Hindu state has systematically subjugated ethnic groups and Dalits. It is also comparable ethnographically with the presence of over a hundred different language groups conscious of their ethnic roots. 14% of Nepal’s population are designated as Dalits and have long suffered discrimination; thus there is plenty Nepal could learn from the violent outbreaks in Manipur. It is clear, for instance, that when the central government does not intervene (as was the case in Manipur) the ethnic clashes can rage on for a long time. If such clashes were to erupt in Nepal it looks unlikely whether Nepal’s government would be able to intervene swiftly. It is to be hoped that the Christians in Nepal will not have to face violence on the scale of Manipur.”


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