Nepal: Proselytizing charges against 8 Christians dropped

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A court has acquitted eight Christians who were charged with proselytizing. These Christians were charged of evangelizing after they were arrested in June earlier this year. They were accused of trying to convert students to Christianity on the grounds that they were caught distributing pamphlets with Christian literature in a school.

Christians acquitted by Nepalese court

Previously in June, five staff members of a Christian school Teach Nepal. Along with these five Christians, two principals were also detained. These Christians were accused of allegedly trying to convert the school children to Christianity. They were allegedly distributing booklets about Jesus Christ as part of their efforts to help children who had been affected by the 2015 earthquake. In this regard, World Watch Monitor a Christian persecution watchdog reports these Christians were trying to help the affected children cope with the trauma.

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Apart from these seven Christians another Christian namely Pastor Shakti Pakhrin from the Charikot Christian church was also arrested on same charges. The seven Christians were arrested earlier than Pastor Shakti. This was the first incident when Christians were arrested on charges of proselytizing ever since country had adopted the law of prohibiting evangelism.

On the other hand, Barnabas Shrestha- Chairman of the school Teach Nepal had denied these charges leveled against the eight respondents. These eight Christians were tried in a court and were acquitted from the charges of trying to convert students.

Christian groups report that despite ongoing persecution of Nepalese Christians, Christianity continues to bloom. He law which bars evangelism in the country states: “any act which may be contrary to public health, public decency or morality or incitement to breach public peace or act to convert another person from one religion to another or any act or behavior to undermine or jeopardize the religion of each other is not allowed and such act shall be punishable by law.”