On Thursday 9 June, seven Christians from Nepal’s Dolakha district, including two school head teachers, were arrested on charges of being involved in the distribution of Christian literature to children at two schools with the intention to convert them. The arrests were made after complaints by parents and local politicians.
The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Belbahadur Pandey, confirmed this news to local media and said that a charge of attempted conversion, under Article 26 (3) of the 2015 Nepalese Constitution, had been brought against the Christians by the complainants.
The other five arrested are part of a Christian ministry called Teach Nepal, who were serving at the schools as part of extra-curricular activities arranged by the two head teachers.
The arrested Christians have denied the charges. Principal Prakash Pradhan, from the Mount Valley Academy, said, “Some students who follow Christianity study in our school and we distributed the gifts to them only.”
Christian leaders in Nepal claim that the seven Christians have been held in detention for a prolonged period and have been tortured. They add that the “basic measures of detention” are not being followed and that the group have not been allowed to call their families or friends.
On Tuesday (14 June), another Christian, Pastor Shakti Pakhrin, was arrested for having links to Teach Nepal. Christian organisations in Nepal are currently lobbying government officials to ensure the release of all eight Christians.