2014-05-02 16:28:17

Minority Nepalis asked to "reconsider their faith" for ID card

May 02, 2014 - The Nepali government wants all minorities to "reconsider their faith" in order to get their national identity cards, which activists described as discrimination. The Nepali government announced that all Nepali citizens will be provided with a national Identity Card. However, members of religious minorities will have to submit to greater scrutiny to obtain their papers. The government plan also calls for Christians, Christian converts and Muslims to "reconsider their faith" before applying for their Identity Card (ID). Members of religious minorities will be asked to reiterate their faith before registering for their ID papers. In case no religious affiliation is expressed, they will be registered as Hindus.
For Christian rights activist CB Gahatraj, "By discriminating on the basis of the national identity card, the government is trying to discourage us and those who wish to convert. This is against the law, democracy and civil rights. Hence, I think the government should change and rectify its position," he said. However, Krishna Hari Baskota, secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister said, "It is not about discrimination" because "Everyone will be able to obtain the papers." At the same time, he said, "we ask all Christians and members of other faiths to reconsider their own beliefs and join Hinduism."
Thousands of Hindus in Nepal have converted without compulsion to Christianity over the past few years. Nepal’s retired Vicar Apostolic, Bishop Anthony Sharma, said, "No one is forced to embrace the Catholic faith, but when someone is blessed by God's grace, we cannot deny him or her our support." Other minority community leaders also called for issue of identity cards without any discrimination. (Source: AsiaNews)

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