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Constitution dispute: Nepali muslims for Hindu state, not secularism

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

In a bizarre turn of events, Muslim community leaders in Nepal say that they feel more “secure” under a constitution designating as a Hindu state as compared to a secular state. Muslims in the country are fully supportive of the ongoing campaign to reinstate the country’s once Hindu identity.

Photo credit: hinduexistence.org
Photo credit: hinduexistence.org

“It is to protect Islam. I demanded that Nepal be declared a Hindu state in order to protect my own religion,” said Amjad Ali, chairman of the Rapti Muslim Society, who is also actively involved in the protest programmes going on in Nepal about the establishment of a Hindu state.

CPN-UMLCA (Communist Party of Nepal) member Anarkali Miya said, “I believe Nepal should not adopt secularism. It will only create more problems in future.” Miya said she has personally experienced missionaries trying to influence people from other faiths to follow Christianity.

Udbudhin Fru, chairman of Muslim Mukti Morcha which is affiliated with the UCPN (Maoist), also admitted that there is a growing influence of Christianity in Nepal.

“Turning the country secular is nothing but a design to break the longstanding unity among Muslims and Hindus. So there is no alternative to reinstating the country’s old Hindu State identity in order to allow fellow citizens to live with religious tolerance,” Babu Khan Pathan, chairperson of the Rastrabadi Muslim Manch Nepalgunj, said as quoted by The Himalayan Times.

He said that declaring the country as a Hindu State will ensure “safety and security” for all, and that 80 percent of Muslims in Banke are in the favour of Hindu State identity.

With Nepal planning to adopt a new constitution, Rastriya Prajatantra Party, a pro-monarchy party and other pro-Hindu organizations have also been demanding for reconverting Nepal to a Hindu state.

Legislators have been working on the new constitution of Nepal since 2008—after a decade long Maoist insurgency that left an estimated 16,000 people dead—but writing it has turned out to be tiresome task for the ruling and opposition parties. For the last eight years, the parties have been zealously arguing over vital issues including secularism and federalism.

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Fear of Leprosy Resurgence in Nepal

There are only three staff working in the leprosy section and the same team looks after the disability programme, as well, he told the newspaper

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Leprosy, Wikimedia

Health officials in Nepal fear leprosy resurgence in the country with prevalence rate reaching 0.94 per cent in 2018.

Leprosy-free status was given to the Himalayan nation after it declared elimination of the disease in 2009. However, that status could be lost if prevalence rate reaches one per cent of total population, Kathmandu Post reported on Thursday.

Experts already fear that this marks the resurgence of the disease in Nepal. The percentage could be more, an official said, as the current given figures have been derived just from preliminary data.

The Leprosy Control and Disability (LCD) section of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) of Department of Health Services said that the prevalence rate was 0.92 and 0.89 in 2017 and 2016, respectively, the news report said.

“It will be a great setback for the country if it loses the status,” said Rabindra Baskota, a doctor and chief of the LCD section.

Incubation period of leprosy varies from one to 20 years and diagnosis of more patients could help stop the further spread of the disease, according to him.

An amputated leg, claw toes and claw hands of leprosy patient Gopal Bag are seen at the Leprosy Mission Trust India hospital. Kolkata. VOA

“It will take only a couple of years to reach one percent if this upward trend continues,” he added.

The prevalence rate is over one per cent in various districts of the Tarai region, Baskota said, adding that the country had received the leprosy eliminated status, after reducing its prevalence rate by 0.77 per cent, in 2009.

Sishir Silwal, a focal person for the leprosy control programme in Gulmi district, said regular review meetings for leprosy, which should be held every four months, has not been held for the last eight months.

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Kathmandu Post quoted Bibek Kumar Lal, Director at EDCD, as saying that there is a severe crunch in manpower that hinders proper functioning.

There are only three staff working in the leprosy section and the same team looks after the disability programme, as well, he told the newspaper.

Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, is transmitted through nasal secretion or from droplets from the mouth. It affects the skin, peripheral nerves and eyes, leading to disfigurement and nerve damage. The disease is curable with a multi-drug therapy. (IANS)