FNCN: Christian population below actual size

- Post Report, KATHMANDU

Dec 6, 2012-

Claiming that the 2011 census report released last week undermines the Christian population in the country, the Federation of National Christians-Nepal (FNCN) on Wednesday demanded that the government conduct a recount and bring out the actual number Nepali Christians.

While the census puts the Christian population at 0.3 million, 1.4 percent of the total population, the FNCN claims that the number is more than 2.5 million.

Speaking at a press conference organised in the Capital on Wednesday, FNCN General Secretary CB Gahatraj alleged that the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) had deliberately counted a lower number during the census data collection. “The 0.3 million Christians, as mentioned in the census, are present inside the Kathmandu Valley alone,” said Ghataraj. “There are more than 8,500 churches and over 2.5 million Christians across the country.”

According to him, the FNCN has the capability to provide the personal details of every Nepali Christian to the government if necessary. He also warned of stern protest programmes if the government fails to address their demands and make a correction in the census report.

However, according to Bikash Bista, Deputy General Secretary of CBS, the census is not biased against any community. “What we did this time is that we prepared open-ended questions under religion category,” he said. “Instead of providing multiple choices, we left it up to the respondents themselves to write down the religion that they followed. The census report is the honest reporting of whatever data the CBS received.”

Meanwhile, Gahatraj also urged the government to implement the ‘historic’ six-point deal struck between the Christian community and the government on May 27. “Such agreements have been signed several times but none of them have ever been implemented,” he said.  The May 27 deal includes the formation of a Christian Commission, declaration of public holidays on Christian festivals other than Christmas, the formation of a body to manage and unify all churches and their properties, the formation of a task force comprised of Christian leaders to sort out issues related to shortage of burial grounds in the Valley and the expansion of job opportunities for the Christian people by allocating specific reservation quotas and allotting a certain share of the national budget to the community.

Published: 06-12-2012 08:39

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