BBC Nepali, 15 August
The new Civil Code has sparked a lot of debate. Anyone involved in proselytising will face a five year jail term and Rs50,000 fine. The BBC’s Sharad KC spoke to KB Rokaya, a pioneer Christian and former member of the National Human Rights Commission, but got an unexpected response.
BBC Nepali: The new Civil Code restricts religious conversion. What is your take?
K B Rokaya: Nepalis accepted secularism without really understanding what it meant. Even we Christians took to the streets demanding a secular nation. But after the election of the second Constituent Assembly and before the new constitution was drafted, I realised it was a mistake. We had blindly supported it without understanding the implications. Secularism must be abolished from the constitution because the state cannot be indifferent to religion. In the context of Nepal, it means going back to a Hindu Kingdom.
As a pioneer of Christianity in Nepal, you want the country to revert back to a Hindu Kingdom?
I am for all religions. The new law will apply to people of all faiths, not just to Christians. So it restricts people of all religions. According to the new law, no one can hurt another’s faith in any manner: through words, or writing, or symbols.
Secularism makes society immoral and corrupt. The government has restricted religious activities. Religious communities do not have a voice. Religious leaders are not allowed to speak. The actions or laws of the government cannot be challenged on the basis of religion or religious texts.
You converted to Christianty during your school days. But now you sound more like a diehard Hindu. Is it old age?
I’m still a Christian and my only faith is in Jesus Christ. Three years ago I started thinking seriously about our country, and I figured out that only three things give Nepal its identity: the founding Shah Dynasty, the Nepal Army and Hinduism. If we are to save this country and if future generations are to live as Nepalis in Nepal, we have to reinstate the monarchy and give up secularism. And the Nepal Army should help achieve this.
You were a Maoist, and now you want the monarchy back?
Yes, I do. The secularism agenda was pushed by western countries and I worked as their agent in the past. But I am confessing now, I did it without understanding. It is not impossible to bring back the Hindu monarchy. Nothing is impossible in this world, especially for people who have faith, like us.
Are you saying we need a referendum?
No, we cannot have a referendum, how can you put Nepal’s basic identity to a vote? Even leaders like Sushil Koirala and Girija Koirala later confessed that they did not know how secularism got included in the constitution. Secularism, republicanism and federalism are not in Nepal’s interest, and today we are facing its consequences.