Attacks on Schools Fail to Deter Church in Nepal

KATMANDU, Nepal, OCT. 13, 2002 ( Despite recent Maoist rebel attacks on two Catholic schools in the Gorkha region, a priest says the local Church is determined to continue its mission of service.

On both occasions the rebels, who control a quarter of this Himalayan country, broke into the school building and torched classrooms.

“These attacks are made not only on Church institutions and schools,” Father Anthony Sharma, prefect of Nepal’s Apostolic Prefecture, told the Fides agency. “The Maoists rebels attack private enterprises; they want to abolish private property.”

“But they do not have the support of the people,” he said. “In regions under rebel control, the number of poor and homeless is on the rise. The Catholic community is esteemed in Nepal and we will continue our work consisting mostly in social assistance, education first of all. Our schools are highly appreciated; this is seen by the fact that most of the pupils are non-Christians.”

This Arkansas-size country of 25.8 million is 86% Hindu, according to U.S. government data.