NEPALGUNJ: Muslim priests today announced protest programmes demanding constitutional identity and ensuring their rights in the new statute.
In a press meet, Maulan Jabbar Manjari, central vice chairman, Nepal Itihad Sangh and Muslim Priests, said that people of Muslim community from all the political parties have agreed to detach the Muslim community from the Madhesi list.
The Muslim community have demanded not to incorporate them in Madhesi community under any condition.
Similarly, the national chairman of Nepal Madrassa Council, Maulan Mansur Arafi demanded the Muslim community should be enlisted in a separate list in the new constitution, adding, “We should have separate constitutional identity and all Muslim organisations are united in their demand.”
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Federation of Madrassa Islamic Mutafi Liyakat Ali Khan warned that their protest would continue until the CA ensured the constitutional identity to the Muslim community.
Former central member of Federation of Nepalese Journalists, Mohammad Harun Maulan said that all Muslims will take part in the protest programme, adding, “Our protest will end only after achieving our goals.”
Maulan Kalim, chairman, Madarasha Islamiya Association, Banke, opined that it is worthless to talk about other things until their identity is ensured in the new constitution.
Bajruduja Khan, district secretary, Madheshi Janadhikar Forum, opined that there should be representation of the Muslim people on the basis of the population as the population of Muslim people is high in Madhes region.
The Muslim community has announced various protest programmes starting from April 20 to April 26 across the nation. They have also warned of intensifying their protest if their demands were not addressed at the earliest.
Young and old, some dressed in saffron, some wielding tridents, Hindu nationalists march in the streets of Kathmandu, letting out a cry of indignation.
"Bring back the Hindu kingdom," they shout.
It is a pattern being regularly repeated, mainly in the capital and the plains bordering India, by Hindus incensed by parliament's recent declaration that Nepal should be secular.
But at the moment, Nepal remains the world's only officially Hindu country.
At the rally Hindu priests extol the goddess Sita, born in Nepal according to legend, and vow to continue protests.
Arun Subedi, chairman of the Hindu nationalist group Shiv Sena Nepal - with the same name as a hardline Mumbai (Bombay)-based organisation but unconnected to it - says secularism may worsen Hindus' relations with minority religions.
"Nepal is a Hindu country," he says. "It is the playground of God and a very holy country.
"If Nepal is not a Hindu kingdom then there is no Nepal. We are entering into a holy war," he says, describing a Hindu scripture as his arms and ammunition.
According to official statistics, more than 80% of Nepalis are Hindu. Many have traditionally regarded their kings as incarnations of the Hindu God, Vishnu.
But minorities in this multi-ethnic country and most political parties have long demanded the move to secularism.
Since it was unified by King Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1768, Nepal has been ruled by a Hindu dynasty. Its kings have bound themselves into a litany of Hindu rituals and receive special reverence from many Hindus in neighbouring India, which is secular.
But in April this year massive demonstrations forced Prithvi's autocratic descendant, King Gyanendra, to abandon his direct rule. Unsurprisingly, the restored parliament declared the country secular.''One of Nepal's greatest monuments, the Swayambhunath temple overlooking Kathmandu, epitomises the country's traditions of religious tolerance and mixing, especially between Hinduism and Buddhism.
Swayambhunath is a Buddhist shrine - a great dome or stupa - from which the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha gaze from its gold-painted face. But adjoining the stupa and its prayer wheels, people swarm around buying offerings for the Hindu goddess, Harati, whose temple lies in the same compound.
Some worshippers move from one shrine to the other.
People advocating the Hindu state point to such places, saying the faiths get on very well as things are. Some commentators say the country's status has prevented the development of the kind of angry Hindu politics seen in India.
But others say precisely the opposite.
Bhikkhu Ananda, a Buddhist monk and lecturer in Buddhist studies, says the Hindu state grossly underplays the number of Buddhists in Nepal. He puts it at 50% rather than the official 11%.
"In this Hindu country, we are not given our due place," he says, asserting that the state broadcaster gives his faith 10 minutes a week compared with three-and-a-half hours for Hinduism.
Other religious minorities, including the tiny Christian one, also welcome the change.
Pastor KB Rokaya heads a church which meets in a private flat because churches are not allowed to register with the authorities. He hopes that will now change and says that more than secularism, what is needed is full religious freedom.
"I think the minority religious people will now feel they are equal citizens, not second-class citizens," he says. "It will also mean we can practise our own religion and faith more openly without fear."
The most vocal advocates of secularism, however, are not grounded in religion.
For its size, Nepal is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. Some were Hinduised relatively recently and some are discovering their pre-Hindu roots.
Krishna Bhattachan works for an umbrella organisation of 59 indigenous ethnic groups, most of which have never enjoyed much power in Nepal.
He says the Hindu state has held back democracy and development and wants secularism to be followed by removal of the monarchy and recognition for minority cultures and languages.
Ranged against this view are many ordinary Hindus who say they feel hurt, pointing out that many countries have Islam or Christianity as a state religion and saying they cherish Nepal's unique status.
Louder are the angry Hindus, who speak with veiled threats towards religious minorities.
"In secularism it will be very difficult for them," a youth attending a rally tells the BBC. "The churches will be destroyed, the mosques will be destroyed.
"The people who are very much [of a] religious mind, they will spontaneously blow up these churches and mosques. The fight between the religious communities... is not going to stop. It has been ignited."
Currently the protesters wanting to keep Nepal officially Hindu are only gathering a few dozen to their rallies. But there have been some scuffles, at least once with the influential Maoist rebels now inching closer to government.
It is still unclear whether militant Hindu sentiments will harden and bigger crowds will flock to their rallies.
this was a well placed strategy to populate the Indian border with Muslims. There was a MP, Baig, who was working with ISI/Dawood and was responsible for this, opening of scores of mosques close to the border and was also involved in the smuggling of fake Indian Currency.
He was shot dead a few years back and it was reported to be done by Chota Rajan at the behest of Indian Intelligence agencies.
The whole idea was to change the demography of the border regions.
In a multi-religious society, you should have secular state. Hell, even if you have 100% Hindu population, secularism should adopted at the state level.
Don't know when would so-called Islamic countries understand this concept.