(Morning Star News) – A Christian from South Korea arrested in Nepal on charges of “attempting to convert” was released on bail on Wednesday (Aug. 7), sources said.
Cho Yusang, a 73-year-old evangelical Christian, posted bail of 150,000 Nepalese rupees (US$1,330) after being arrested on July 23. His health deteriorated after he was incarcerated, and he had been hospitalized, said Tanka Subedi, chair of the Religious Liberty Forum Nepal (RLFN).
On Monday (Aug. 5), Subedi told Morning Star News that Cho had been released from hospital care.
“Though he was out of hospital, he was feeling dizzy this morning also,” Subedi said. “His health is still not good. He does not want to go back to the hospital, because he does not have much money left. He does not have insurance cover to pay his bills.”
In Nepal on a business visa, Cho was also charged with misuse of visa.
The charge of “attempting to convert” under Section 158 (1) of the Nepal Penal Code of 2017 calls for as much five years in jail and/or a fine of up to 50,000 Nepalese Rupees (US$445), according to Subedi.
Cho and two other foreigners working separately from him were found involved in conversion activity in Pokhara, in central Nepal, Raj Kumar KC, spokesperson of the District Police Office in Kaski, reportedly said.
Police arrested Cho for allegedly distributing leaflets and Bibles in the Barachi area of Kaski District, in Gandaki Pradesh Province, KC told the Kathmandu, Nepal-based news outlet Republica. The police spokesman said officers also arrested two Japanese nationals, Jehova’s Witnesses unaffiliated with Cho, in the Ratna area of the same district on the same charges.
KC reportedly said their arrest shows that “some foreigners do not come with good intentions,” and that they would be charged with proselytizing.
B.P. Khanal, national coordinator of Nepal for the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief [IPPFoRB], told Morning Star News that after arresting Cho from his lakeside lodging, police raided his room and confiscated some Bibles and Christian literature.
Khanal, who is responsible for inter-faith relations for the Nepal Christian Society, said possession of a Bible and Christian literature is not evidence of a crime.
“In this case the law is discriminatory, because it is not an offense to have Bibles in your room,” Khanal told Morning Star News. “The recovery of some Bibles and Christian literature from Yusang’s personal belongings is projected as an offense and as a crime Yusang committed. Anybody can have a Bible – it is not a drug or an explosive. Carrying a Bible should not be and must not be a criminal offense.”
The Nepal Christian Society has hired an attorney for Cho, he said.
U.S. Citizen Charged
Earlier, in Basgadhi of Bardiya District, police on June 21 arrested U.S. citizen Bradley Navarro Anagaran on a charge of possessing Christian literature, according to the RLFN.
When local pastor Hira Singh Sunar went to the police station to inquire about his arrest, officers arrested him as well, according to an RLFN statement. Both Anagaran and Pastor Sunar were charged with “attempting to convert,” it stated.
Anagaran was found with two discipleship leaflets designed for use within a church circle, Christian sources said.
“Apart from the literature on discipleship, police have confiscated a few pairs of reading glasses from his backpack, which means that the police did not find him distributing the literature to anybody,” Khanal of the IPPFoRB said.
The two Christians were moved from district headquarters of Gulariya to Bansgadhi police station. They were released on bail on July 3, and Anagaran has returned to the United States, but he must return for a hearing at the end of this month and every court date thereafter, Subedi of the RLFN said.
“I personally don’t know how he will be able to do that, as it is a great financial burden to travel every time for his court date from the United States to Nepal,” Subedi told Morning Star News. “The court procedures in Nepal take several years and are tiresome.”
A team from the Nepal Christian Society in Kathmandu, including Khanal, went to speak with local officials.
“We met with about 60 local pastors and mobilized prayer, as well as formed a task force,” Khanal said. “We met Bradley and Sunar inside the jail and comforted them. We met the police inspector who arrested Bradley, the deputy superintendent of police, chief district officer and the prosecuting attorney to discuss how the charges in the case could be minimized, for there was no ‘conversion attempt’ in the case at all.”
After the initial order for a week’s remand ended, police kept them in custody while extending the investigation for no apparent reason, sources said.
“Both Bradley and Sunar were being kept in a miserable condition while in custody,” read an RLFN newsletter. “They were treated as criminals even though they had not committed any crime.”
The Rev. Mukunda Sharma, spokesperson of the RLFN, was a part of the team visiting the duo in jail. He urged human rights and diplomatic officials to support them.
Khanal issued a plea for foreigners visiting Nepal to refrain from doing anything that will land them in legal trouble. He said that sharing the gospel where there are already local churches should not be taken up by Christians from other countries.
“Their role can be to inspire, educate and train local churches if they really want the bring the gospel to the people,” he said. “Let the local church in their local language share the gospel.”
As the Nepal Christian Society is taking up an increasing number of legal cases, he asked that the international Christian community pray for those accused under Nepal’s new criminal code.
An increase in persecution of Christians in Nepal began after a new criminal code was passed in October 2017, which took effect in August 2018.
Pastor Sagar Baiju, a senior Christian leader in the country, said that such incidents make it clear that government officials, police and politicians are targeting Christians.
“Unless this new law is revoked, such incidents will continue to increase in Nepal,” Baiju told Morning Star News. “When I travel to foreign counties, I carry my identity with me – and my identity is that I am a Nepali, but apart from being a Nepali, I am a Christian, so I always carry my Bible with me. How is it a crime, when foreign tourists come to Nepal to tour the country or to visit their friends and carry their Bible in their hands?”
People of other religions erect huge tents, gather in large numbers and use loud sound systems for worship, and the lawmakers do not question them, he said.
“All the schools in Nepal have their morning devotions according to the faith that the school authorities follow,” he said. “In schools run by Hindus, they make the children perform Saraswati Vandana [a common Hindu mantra] in their morning devotion, and nobody objects to it. Then why is it a crime, if a Christian school makes the children say The Lord’s Prayer in the assembly? Why are objections raised and Christians ghettoized as criminals?”
There is a need for Christians to unite and raise the issue with a single voice, he said.
“A hospital owned by a Hindu has a big Hindu temple inside the premises,” he said. “They are free to write Hindu scriptures on the walls of the hospital and nobody objects. But if a Christian hospital has a Bible inside the hospital or a Bible verse hung on any wall, we are accused of preaching our religion, and the authorities running the hospital are in trouble.”
Nepal was ranked 32nd on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.
(Morning Star News) – Pastor Sagar Baizu, 46, had finished one meeting and had an hour before the next one, so he decided to stop at a café on a major thoroughfare in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, on July 19.
As he was about to sip a coffee in the crowded café at 2 p.m., six to eight men suddenly attacked the spokesperson and co-general secretary of the Federation of National Christians in Nepal (FNCN) from behind.
“They beat me for a minute and a half and suddenly fled the site,” Pastor Baizu told Morning Star News. “They said, ‘We will blast your church and all the churches with bombs and shoot you and all your leaders.’”
He became dizzy from many blows to his head by two of the assailants and could not see the faces of any of them, he said.
“I just could not understand what was happening to me for about 10 minutes after the assault,” the pastor said.
After cafeteria staff members helped him regain his bearings, Pastor Baizu informed police, who arrived in about 20 minutes.
Though he sustained no visible injuries, he received immediate medical attention, and doctors advised him to wear a neck brace for a week and to rest his head as much as possible.
Pastor Baizu, who has headed Anugrah Vijay Church (Grace Victory Church) in Budhanilkantha, Kathmandu District, for 23 years, filed a report on the assault with police, and the chief district officer has taken it seriously, he said.
Police registered a case against six to eight unidentified men under “attempt to murder” and “threat of bomb blast,” he said. The chief district officer instructed Kathmandu Valley police to provide security to the pastor, and policemen have been deployed outside his church building and residence. They told him to inform security personnel whenever he leaves home.
Pastor Baizu has been advocating on behalf of Nepali Christians for more than 10 years.
“I am the official spokesperson of the Federation of National Christians in Nepal and have been speaking about the rights of the church for many years now,” he said. “This is not the first time that I have received threats.”
Asked if the attack could have resulted from personal animosity, Pastor Baizu said he had no personal enemies, and that he had no doubt he was assaulted for his boldness to “stand for the church and with the church.”
“This is persecution that came because of my Christian activism,” he said. “They spoke about bombing the church and killing the Christian leaders. Otherwise they would have never spoken like this.”
He was a high-profile advocate for Tupek Church in Kathmadu after a bulldozer arrived to demolish its building about four months ago. The pastor also recalled how four Christians were jailed for a week after a mob of Hindu extremists assaulted them for singing Christian songs on a roadside.
The hard-line Hindus held the young Christian men until police arrived, and officers arrested the four Christians and set the assailants free, he said. A case was registered against the four Christians, who were released on bail.
The assault on Pastor Baizu comes amid a rash of anti-Christian hostilities this year. He said increased threats on the Christian community in Nepal is a matter of great concern.
“Every day we hear about one or the other incident in Nepal,” he said, adding that the government is not doing enough to protect the rights of Christians, and that radical organizations are taking advantage of this laxity.
A team of Christian delegates recently met with Nepal’s home minister but were disappointed with the cold response, he said.
(Voice of the Persecuted) The Western Church remains silent about the global Christian community as a whole. They are either blinded, or watching in silence while one Christian after another is moved toward genocide and extinction. Do they wonder or see the big picture? The dragon (satan) is working very hard to destroy the great commission given by Jesus to His followers. “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.” Do you realize that in nearly 1/2 of the world it’s now illegal, or a threat to your life for preaching the Gospel of Christ?
Nepali constitution could render Christianity illegal
(World Watch Monitor) Christians fear this will pave the way for an “anti-conversion clause” to be written into the penal code, which could result in prison sentences or hefty fines for “offenders”. On paper, the proposed amendments read the same for all religions, but no specification is given for what constitutes an “act to convert” and, in a country where 80 per cent of the population is Hindu, the hammer is likely to fall hardest on minorities, including Christians, who comprise between 1.5 and 3 per cent of the population.
Attempting to convert someone to another religion is already prohibited in Nepal, but the proposed amendments would mean that anything perceived as “evangelistic” could be punishable by law.
Article 31(3) states that “any act to convert another person from one religion to another, or any act or behaviour to undermine or jeopardise the religion of another [will be] punishable by law”.
Christians fear this will pave the way for an “anti-conversion clause” to be written into the penal code, which could result in prison sentences or hefty fines for “offenders.”
Amendments like these not only allow, but encourage the expansion of strict ‘Sharia’ law and the like, such as Hindu lands where it is against the law for anyone to convert others to their religion. In Iraq, the region is almost void of vestiges of Christianity. The global community watches one church after another being destroyed.The same is spreading in Iraq, Syria, the whole of the Middle East, and large swaths of Africa. Christian communities are completely razed, villagers slaughtered, and those who survive flee for their lives, even crossing borders to other countries to seek safe havens. Families become separated, herded like cattle, often face continued discrimination, as they await freedom or death, which ever comes first. Sound familiar? It should, this scenario happened again and again to the Jewish population, most recently in WWll. “Never Again,” resounds in our minds as we see history being allowed to repeat itself. When will we ever learn?
The Fides agency has shared detailed testimony:
This is orchestrated again by the most vile evil that ever existed. Pure and simple Satan. The leftist’s and progressives in the West refer to him as a being of light, the first rebel. What Christians either don’t understand or don’t believe is that Satan is real, and yes he rebelled against God taking 1/3 of the Heavenly hosts with him, when he was cast out of Heaven. Why is it so hard for Christians to believe in Satan? Why is it so hard for Christians in the West to understand what is happening in the world? Quoting a persecuted, Syrian brother in Christ, “The snake creeps as the West sleeps.” This is so true, even of the western Church. In one fatal swoop the west has created a scenario that has left Christianity extinct in 1/4 of the world. In countries like Syria and Iraq, where Christians have been around spreading the good news of Christ since the time of His death, they are now a statistic—collateral damage in the world of genocide and at risk of total extinction. Not hyperbole nor a conspiracy theory or fabricated propaganda, it’s happening now, a modern-day truth and reality.
The book of Revelation is exploding in our very time, right before our eyes! And the Western Church cannot see the forest for the trees. Plump and fat on the blessings from God, hands raised in worship, begging blessings from God totally oblivious to the fact that the Gospel of Christ is under attack even in their own respective free countries. So complacent with their freedom of worship, church for many has become a weekly social event. Many are more concerned about meeting for lunch or the potluck picnic after service than worship, the Word and heart of God. If they choose not to act in their complacency, Christianity as they know it may no longer exist. And the Gospel of Christ will be shared in the shadows, underground and in secret. Take heed in the Word of God, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Look back to the early church, what did the Apostles do when they were faced with persecution and a similar extinction? They certainly didn’t hide and shrink from their duties. They finished the race, they spread the love and word of Christ, even died for it, for Him. Does this sound like the church of today?
In the West Christians are told to keep it to themselves, out of public view. you cannot voice your belief, form opinions on moral Christian values or practice your belief in all facets of life. To do so, you may be called a hater, bigot, or risk a court of law. Many Christian businesses have already been ruined as they dared to say no to the practice of killing innocent unborn children, or no to participating in Homosexual marriages in some form. Many have already lost their jobs and others are told to either conform or lose your job. Some have been discharged from the military for displaying Bible verses!
And one of the biggest lies of all is told among our Christian communities. And that is ALL religions worship the same God. With the scripture and word of God right in front of them, they boldly proclaim ,”There is more than one way to heaven.” HELLO! The great falling away has begun. Are you ready?????? Ready or not here I come. That is what is resounding from scripture.
If you don’t understand the words of Jesus in the parable of the Virgins in Matthew 25, now is the time to find out what it means as it is the perfect picture of what the church today looks like!
The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
WAKE UP! Satan knows his time is short, why can’t the Western Church see that OUR TIME IS SHORT.
ASIA/NEPA: Kathmandu (Agenzia Fides) – Protestant Pastor Chhedar Bhote Lhomi, 37, was freed from blame and released from prison, he is now free after a bad experience of detention.
As Fides learns, the Pastor lives in a remote area of Nepal, where he had started a Christian community that met regularly. He was jailed in October 2012 on charges of “beef consumption” although he carried out his service in an area of Nepal where this custom is normally permitted (in other parts of the country local Hindus do not eat beef because cattle are considered sacred).
In the fall of 2012 the Pastor had been accused by some local Hindus of having eaten “forbidden meat” and a mob had attacked him ravaging and destroying his home. The Pastor was arrested by the police, leaving his family (wife and three children) in the direst poverty.
A court recently declared that Pastor Chhedar is “not guilty” and ordered his release. The Pastor said he will continue to pray and proclaim Christ on the heights of Tibet. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 19/08/2014)
Take time to praise and worship the Lord. This victory is His! Keep Pastor Chhedar in your prayers as he proclaims the Gospel in Tibet.