Christians seized by police while training pastors in Nepal
A group of Christians including a US woman and an Indian man who were training local pastors have been seized and detained by police in Nepal, according to Barnabas Fund contacts.
The police arrested two Nepali Christians, the two foreign nationals and their Nepali driver on 23 April, accusing them of trying to “lure conversions” to Christianity and detained them overnight.
A box of Bibles, a laptop, a USB stick, cash in envelopes, a nebuliser machine that aids breathing and a vehicle were reportedly taken from the group at a hotel in Dang district in midwestern Nepal.
The two Nepali Christians and Indian national remain in detention awaiting a hearing on Sunday 28 April facing charges under the new "anti-conversion" law, according to our source.
The US woman is reportedly being held under house arrest and may be deported. The Nepali driver has since been released but remains under investigation.
The group were involved in running training courses for pastors at a local church and the Bibles were probably to be distributed among the pastors, our source said.
However, police claimed that they were trying to lure people into Christianity by offering medical care and money, according to the Kantipur daily newspaper.
Local Christian leaders pleaded with the police not to take them away, but were ignored.
A new law came into force in Nepal in September 2018 that makes it an offence to “involve or encourage in conversion of religion” or “hurt religious sentiment”. While the constitution already prohibits proselytisation, the new law is very vague about what an “attempt” to convert someone might involve and means any public Christian activity is potentially illegal.
From Barnabas Fund contacts