A Buddhist monk visiting the predominantly Christian Borang village in Nepal’s Dhading district forced all the Christian villagers to convert to Buddhism and ordered them to stop all Christian worship. Two of the church’s leaders refused to obey the orders and were attacked in response.
Commissioned by a political leader from the RPP Hindu nationalist party, a Buddhist monk came to the village to preach Buddhism. All of the Christian villagers were locked inside a hall and forced to listen to the Buddhist teachings and to accept Buddhism. They were asked to bow down before a statue, go around the village carrying Buddhist scriptures on their heads, and to place Buddhist flags on their houses.
Refusing to obey the orders, the pastor and elder of the church were attacked. Although the church elder managed to escape, the pastor was captured and beaten for three days. He was then forced to place his finger print on a document stating that he would stop running the church and that he would not report the incident to police authorities or leave the village.
Led by the Buddhist monk, a group of assailants attacked the church on 1 February. They destroyed the furniture and church building and tried to set fire to it. They also attacked the pastor’s home, cutting off the electricity and phone lines. Not allowed to use the phone or leave the village, the pastor is still in Borang. Local Christians told Barnabas Fund today that they are particularly concerned about the health of the church pastor since there is no information about his current condition. The church was unable to meet the following Saturday, the normal day for worship services across Nepal.
Although local police were sent from Setung to the village to find out what happened, the locals, under pressure from the attackers, reported that there had been no problems. The police then returned to Setung without reporting the incident.
Although Nepal is over 80% Hindu, Buddhism holds close ties to the majority religion; the birthplace of its founder is said to be in Lumbini, southern Nepal. Dhading district, however, has the highest number of Nepali Christians, with some villages almost entirely Christian.