Hindu Fundamentalists Target Christian Orphanage in Nepal

Asia News reports:

A Hindu fundamentalist group in Nepal bombed a Christian orphanage accusing its administrators of converting its non Christian children and receiving funds from pro-Maoist organisations. The explosion occurred in Birganj, Nepal’s industrial capital, at the “Grace Children Home” and wounded one child who is now in hospital.

…The attack was claimed by the Nepal Defence Army (NDA), a recently-created group that wants to restore the Hindu theocracy that once ruled the country.

One boy was injured in the attack; the Himalayan Times has further details:

Fifteen-year-old Mukesh Karki was injured when a bomb went off inside Grace Children’s Home situated at Radhemai Tole in Birgunj-16 today, the inspector at District Police Office (DPO) in Parsa Gautam Mishra said. Karki, who has sustained leg injuries, is undergoing treatment at Narayani Sub Regional Hospital.

Asia News quotes the justification for the attack by a certain “Praban”:

“Firstly, the Christian owners of the home are obviously converting the Hindu and Buddhist children from the hills and mountains to Christianity. [. . .] The bomb was a warning against their nefarious project. Secondly, [. . .] we have evidence that they are actually children of Maoist guerrillas who were killed in army operations during the insurgency. The Maoists don’t mind if their children become Christians.”

This is just the latest action by the NDA, which emerged in February when it bombed the offices of the CPN-UML (“Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)”), again in Birgunj. Other attacks followed in March, as the Nepal News reported:

A day after it owned up responsibility for having hurled bomb at Kantipur’s regional office in Biratnagar, a whisky factory in Tankisinwari and UML office in Parsa, the NDA has exploded a bomb at the residence of Nepali Congress MP Ashok Koirala in Morang district…At the site of explosion, pamphlets were found in which the NDA has put forth 24-point demands including restoration of Hindu state.

A publishing company was also attacked around the same time. The News adds:

Kantipur daily has reported that NDA is operated by Indian elements supporting Hindu state in Nepal. The daily has reported that main organiser of NDA is Baba Sanjaya Nath – a priest at Kali Temple in the border town of Raxaul. The NDA workers are found to actively take part in rallies organised to protest secularism in Nepal, it said. The daily has reported that Birgunj-based people who had association with Panchayat politics in the past are close with the Baba.

Another individual associated with the group is someone who goes under the name “Parshu Ram”, who writes their pamphlets.

Birgunj saw a Hindu show of strength last May:

Venting anger at Nepal’s transformation into a secular state from the world’s only Hindu kingdom, protesters Wednesday shut down Birgunj city, the country’s southern industrial hub, and announced a closure Thursday as well…

Though the measures were hailed by ethnic indigenous communities, which follow their own religion, as well as Christian and Muslim organisations, Hindu groups, especially those with political connections, condemned the action.

The World Hindu Federation (WHF), a controversial organisation headed by a former aide of the king, and Shiv Sena Nepal were among the bodies protesting against the conversion.

This was followed by a call for “holy war” in September:

Arun Subedi, chairman of the Hindu nationalist group Shiv Sena Nepal – with the same name as a hardline Mumbai (Bombay)-based organisation but unconnected to it – says secularism may worsen Hindus’ relations with minority religions.

“Nepal is a Hindu country,” he says. “It is the playground of God and a very holy country.

“If Nepal is not a Hindu kingdom then there is no Nepal. We are entering into a holy war,” he says, describing a Hindu scripture as his arms and ammunition.

This Hindu militancy is doubtless in part fuelled by the continuing activities of the country’s Maoists. Journalist Kamala Sarup noted just yesterday that

Even though the Maoists’ Communist Party of Nepal has declared peace, the violent killings, kidnappings and extortion continue. The victims of earlier violence want peace, democracy and development. But the various political entities have all resorted to violence to further their own causes.

Name variation: Nepal Defense Army