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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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9 Climbers Pulled From Snow After A Sudden Storm On Mount Gurja, Nepal

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

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Mount Gurja
Tourists take pictures at Sarangkot in Pokhara, with the view of the Mount Annapurna range in the background, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, Nov. 30, 2008. Annapurna, at 8,091 meters high, is the 10th highest mountain in the world.. VOA

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal’s Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 meters (yards) away.

“All nine bodies have been found and the team are in the process of bringing them down,” said Siddartha Gurung, a chopper pilot who is coordinating the retrieval mission.

Mount Gurja
A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp.

A second helicopter along with a team of rescue specialists and villagers were also involved in the mission, which has been hampered by strong winds as well as the camp’s remoteness in the Dhaulagiri mountain range of Nepal’s Annapurna region.

The bodies of the climbers, five South Koreans and four Nepalis, will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort.

‘Like a bomb went off’

The expedition’s camp was destroyed by the powerful storm, which hit the area late Thursday or Friday, flattening all the tents and leaving a tangled mess of tarpaulin and broken polls.

“Base camp looks like a bomb went off,” said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a U.S.-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.

Mount Gurja
Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal, organised the expedition

The expedition was led by experienced South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who has climbed the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Experts puzzled

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

Also Read: Nepal Saves Its Tiger Population, Doubles It

“At this point we don’t understand how this happened. You don’t usually get those sorts of extreme winds at that altitude and base camps are normally chosen because they are safe places,” Richards said.

The team had been on 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route. (VOA)