Despite Nepal being a secular state, Christians in the country are still being marginalized and persecuted in many ways, including having challenges finding a proper burial site for their dead loved ones.
According to C.B. Gahatraj, general secretary of the Federation of National Christians, Nepal (FNCN), in a phone interview with The Christian Post through an interpreter, there have been cases of Christians being deprived of the right to bury their dead family members in their own burial grounds.
Because of challenges in finding proper burial sites where Christians may lay their deceased loved ones to rest, some are forced to place their dead in makeshift burial sites in forests, but they do so discreetly as such an act is illegal in Nepal.
Hindu majorities appear to be vigilant in making sure that Christians do not use burial grounds that are off-limits to Christians. In some cases, Hindus reportedly dug up and dumped dead bodies of Christians onto their relative's doorsteps or left on the streets.
Gahatraj told The Christian Post, "When Christians die in Nepal, they have two pains. One is they suffer, they grieve because of their loved ones who are no more; secondly, they have no place to bury their loved ones."
He also shared that the government and Christians in Nepal have agreed on a three-point-agreement, which states that Christians in the country will be temporarily allowed a cemetery for Christians and that an advisory body will be formed to lobby for long-term plans for burial sites. The agreement came about after Christians held a 40-day hunger strike in protest against the treatment of their dead. However, according to Gahatraj, the government has not acted on the agreement.
Hindu-majority Nepal has a tiny Christian population, comprising less than 1.5 percent of the population. However, its small Christian population is one of the fastest-growing in the world, according to the World Christian Database, as reported by NPR.org.
In 2011, the Central Bureau of Statistics recorded 375,699 Christians in Nepal, according to My Republica, and today, the figure has grown to at least three million, claims FNCN.