A missionary couple has fled Nepal after the government started an investigation into the allegation of the couple illegally converting Hindu and Buddhist citizens of Nepal. Apparently, the couple had established a church inside the hospital and were luring the patients and others to convert to Christianity.
As we had covered in a previous article, the Constitution of Nepal bans conversion activities of NGOs in its territory. The constitution of Nepal gives the right to religious freedom under article 26. However, it says in the clause (3) that :-
While exercising the right as provided for by this Article, no person shall act or make others act in a manner which is contrary to public health, decency and morality, or behave or act or make others act to disturb public law and order situation, or convert a person of one religion to another religion, or disturb the religion of other people. Such an act shall be punishable by law.
Thus, proselytization is banned by law in Nepal. Foreign NGOs cannot send money legally to convert Hindus of Nepal and if caught doing this illegally, they have to face the might of law. The Criminal Code of Nepal, enacted in Vikram Samvat 2074, states that no one should convert or encourage or discourage anyone from doing so. The Code states,
“Anyone who acts or behaves in a way that disturbs the religion, opinion or belief of any caste, creed or sect from time immemorial, or with the intention of converting to another religion without showing or not showing any temptation shall be imprisoned for up to five years and a fine of up to Rs 50,000 will also be levied on him for such offence.”
Dr. Dale M. Mole and his wife Susan Mole were obviously aware of the law, but thought that their religious duties as missionaries trumped the laws of Nepal. Of course, the power of an American passport could also be the guiding factor. How can a poor third-world country take on the citizens of mighty USA?
The Moles left Nepal in a hurry when they somehow got wind of the investigation by the authorities. The accused Dale Mole is the Chief Executive Officer of the Scheer Memorial Hospital in Banepa, which is near the capital Kathmandu. His wife was also employed at the hospital. The couple had been working with the hospital since 2015. The hospital is much older and was established in 1960 in the name of Charles J. Scheer, an American citizen, and his wife, Caroline. The hospital was opened with the support of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the United States.
Non-governmental organizations have been converting people to Christianity in Nepal, Bharat and elsewhere in the name of social service since centuries. Many of these also receive funds from foreign countries of Europe and Americas for conversion. Eminent people like Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi had mentioned this mode of conversion and condemned the same.
After the couple fled Nepal, the Immigration Department blacklisted Dale and his wife on the recommendation of Home Secretary Maheshwar Neupane. He has been barred from entering Nepal for a period of five years. Further, the activities inside the Scheer Memorial Hospital would also be closely monitored by the authorities in Nepal.
The situation in Bharat is much more critical due to lax laws. The constitution does not forbid conversion as explicitly as in Nepal. Thus, the missionaries freely convert the vulnerable using all the tricks of their dirty trade. This includes offering money, jobs, education for children, health services, access to water etc. if the target converts to Christianity.
The FCRA law allows the NGOs to run these conversion shops by getting money from foreign countries. Tens of thousands of crores each year come in Bharat from foreign countries for this purpose. In fact, the recent attempts to control the misuse of law by the government have led to a lot a negative commentary in the national and international media.
The need of the hour is to enact laws like Nepal to completely ban such missionary activities that seeks converts from Indic religions in Bharat. Under current laws, missionaries have to take a separate type of visa for conducting religious activities. However, almost all “mission trips” by foreign missionaries are under tourist visa! One can just search “mission trip to India” and see lakhs of results in which people are offered to go to Bharat for mission of conversion. There are thousands of stories of how they converted people on these blogs.
Clearly, the current laws are not working in stopping foreign missionaries in Bharat. Apart from that, the native Christian missionaries are also making all efforts to Christianize Bharat. With their foreign support and funding closed, they can probably be checked more easily. The example of Nepal is before us. It is a secular nation too. We should adopt its notion of secularism and its commitment to protect the indigenous religions and culture. As Swami Vivekananda said “And then every man going out of the Hindu pale is not only a man less, but an enemy more.” It is time Hindus recognise those enemies and take steps to protect themselves.
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