Religion Issues in Secular Nepal

Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most important temple for Hindus in Nepal. Minendra Rijal, the Minister for Culture in the present caretaker Government has given Nepali Christians the permission to bury their dead in the Sleshmantak forest which is part of the land owned by the Pashupatinath Area Development Trust. PADT has begun renovating the temple and its surroundings for Visit Nepal 2011 and this means that Christians will no longer be able to bury their dead there and possibly any existing graves may be destroyed or have to be shifted else where. The Hindus claim that the Christians are clandestinely burying their dead in the forests and should not be allowed to do so as it goes against the religious sentiments of the Hindus. Minister Rijal has promised to resolve the issue soon. But the solution he offers will generate a lot of interest in secular Nepal where the population is still predominantly Hindu although the number of Christians is also growing very rapidly due to various reasons.