Christians welcome Nepal’s secular constitution

Christian efforts to ensure that Nepal’s new constitution would confirm the state’s secular nature have been successful after the country’s constituent assembly rejected proposals to introduce an article identifying Nepal as a “Hindu religious country” into the constitution. 

The new constitution was approved on September 16 and came into effect on September 20, replacing an interim constitution that has been in use since 2007 following the deposition in 2006 of the country’s Hindu monarchy in a Maoist-led uprising.

Catholic leaders have welcomed the move, believing that the constitution’s secular character is necessary if religious freedom is to be maintained in the 81% Hindi country, but some Hindu nationalists have protested against the decision, which was made against the backdrop of bomb attacks on churches in the country’s eastern Jhapa district.