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Burial row erupts in Nepal

world Updated: Apr 08, 2011 23:58 IST

Nepal government has formed a five-member panel to look into the demand for separate burial grounds by Christians.

Christians, a minority in the erstwhile Hindu kingdom, have been undertaking a relay hunger strike since March 23 seeking land to bury their dead.

Urging the community to end the strike, the ministry for federal affairs, constituent assembly, parliamentary affairs and culture formed the committee on Thursday.

Chief of the committee Rishikesh Niraula said that it would study the case and submit a report within the next 45 days.

"We appeal to them (Christians) to postpone the strike until the report is complete," The Himalayan Times quoted him.

In a statement, the committee said it would study national and international values, traditions and culture before submitting its report.

Christian groups meanwhile have decided to continue with the relay hunger strike till they talk with Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal and get specific assurances.

Christians in Nepal have been protesting since December when the management of Pashupati Temple, a sacred Hindu shrine in Kathmandu, put a ban on burials by non-Hindus near the temple.

More than 80% of Nepal's 30 million population comprise of Hindus while the number of Christians is only .5%. The country became a secular democratic republic in May 2008.