Atmosphere Tense for All in Nepal Following Street Protests

KATHMANDU, Nepal, SEPT. 2, 2004 ( “Tension is high, but the situation is under control,” said Father Pius Perumana to Fides News Agency regarding the situation in Nepal.

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Thousands of people took to the streets of the Nepalese capital on Tuesday when learning the news of the murder of 12 workers kidnapped on Aug. 20 in Iraq by the Ansar al-Sunna Muslim extremist group (see Zenit, Sept. 1, 2004).

Christians feared for their safety as they perceived themselves to be possible targets of violence.

Father Perumana, pro-prefect of the apostolic prefecture in Nepal, told Fides News Agency that although the situation is delicate; Christians are not in any particular danger.

The «tragedy has affected all the citizens of Nepal regardless of their religious beliefs,» he assured. Like «everyone else, Christians are staying at home, but not out of fear for themselves as Christians, but because of the general air of tension,» he explained.

“The curfew continues….Today is a national day of mourning and the whole country is still deeply shaken,» Father Perumana said.

«No one was expecting such a violent reaction. It was clear that people were deeply grieved and angry but unfortunately these feelings exploded in collective disorder,” he said.

“Immediate intervention by the police and the authorities calmed the riots and helped to avoid further violence. Religious leaders in Nepal have publicly condemned the crime,» Father Perumana added.

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