Religious leaders warn of increase in violence

Kathmandu, December 31:

Religious leaders today warned of an increase in the level of violence and bloodshed in the country.

“The various religious communities in Nepal are concerned that the present confrontational environment might lead to further violence and bloodshed,” stated a statement by Inter-Religious Peace Committee (IRPC), Nepal, that was read out at an interaction organised here today.

The statement has urged all sectors of society — the peace loving people, the civil society, the intellectual community, media, political parties and the international community — to make efforts from their sides to prevent the nation from sliding into chaos and violence.

The religious leaders called on the government to take the Maoists’ unilateral ceasefire positively and to reciprocate it immediately. They also urged the Maoists to extend the period of truce.

Speaking at the function vice-president of IRPC, Dr K B Rokaya, said the religious bodies faced a great challenge of saving people’s faith on them at this crucial time.

Recalling the biased attitude of the successive governments towards people who do not belong to Hindu community — evident even in the state owned media — Vikchhu Ananda said such discriminations of non-Hindus could have been responsible in fuelling the conflict in the nation. He also highlighted the need of co-existence among all religions.

“Buddha was the only democratic person. We should therefore follow his path,” he said.

General secretary of World Hindu Federation Nepal, Balaram Thapa, said the major reason of the present conflict was the greed for power. “Everybody wants to be in power,” he said. Thapa said the religious communities should create pressure on those in power, not through speeches and religious activities, but by taking to streets. “The three major forces in the nation have made mistakes in the past. Each of those needs to compromise for the sake of people,” he added. Conflict expert Dr Indrajeet Rai also warned that the nation was headed towards bloodshed.

General secretary of Nepal Muslim Association Najarul Hushain, representative of Bahai Community Nepal Bishnu Ghimire, vice-president of Brahma Kumar Raj Yog Sewa Kendra Ram Singh Ayer and president of IRPC Achyut Raj Regmi also expressed the need of peaceful efforts to avoid further violence in the country.