Hindu Fears Over Secular Nepal

September 18, 2006

Author: Charles Haviland

Source: BBC News


Young and old, some dressed in saffron, some wielding tridents, Hindu nationalists march in the streets of Kathmandu, letting out a cry of indignation.

"Bring back the Hindu kingdom," they shout.

It is a pattern being regularly repeated, mainly in the capital and the plains bordering India, by Hindus incensed by parliament's recent declaration that Nepal should be secular.

But at the moment, Nepal remains the world's only officially Hindu country.

At the rally Hindu priests extol the goddess Sita, born in Nepal according to legend, and vow to continue protests.

Arun Subedi, chairman of the Hindu nationalist group Shiv Sena Nepal - with the same name as a hardline Mumbai (Bombay)-based organisation but unconnected to it - says secularism may worsen Hindus' relations with minority religions.