By Kathleen Hendricks, Special to the ASSIST News Service
KATHMANDU, NEPAL (ANS – September 17, 2015) — Nepal’s Constituent Assembly (CA) voted by a two-thirds majority on the evening of Wednesday, September 16, 2015, to approve the new constitution and keep the country a “Secular” nation, rather than revert to being a “Hindu” state.
Christian believers, along with Muslims, Buddhists and other religious groups took to the streets during the past month to protest a constitutional draft, proposing a “Hindu State”.
A national call for three days of prayer and fasting by Christians in a solemn assembly, were held in the capitol of Kathmandu, September 10,11,12, while the Constituent Assembly was meeting to vote on a revised draft and amendments.
Throughout the nation small groups of believers were also praying together during that time.
Following the CA decision for religious freedom, some Hindu groups took to the streets in protest, burning churches and a police station with explosives.
There has also been much controversy and heightened tensions for a couple of months over the proposed draft, by marginalized groups protesting the re-districting. This led to protests, clashes with law enforcement and curfews resulting in nearly 40 deaths, 10 of them police officers and minors including an eighteen-month-old baby. Many houses were torched while residents were inside, as well as a few people shot due to crossing curfew boundaries.
On Wednesday, when the CA endorsed the revised Bill 2072, some marginalized parties boycotted the voting. Now, on Sunday, September 20th, the constitution will commence.
Photo captions: 2) Hindu protestors. 2) Believers praying for peace.
About the writer: Kathleen Hendricks is a special correspondent for the ASSIST News Service and a freelance writer living in Southeast Asia.
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