Nepal fails the 'secular' test on Id | world | Hindustan Times
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Nepal fails the 'secular' test on Id

world Updated: Oct 14, 2007 21:39 IST
Anirban Roy
Anirban Roy
Reuters
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Caught in a series of difficulties in the democratisation process, an insurgency-ravaged Nepal has also failed to transform itself as a "secular nation".

As the celebrations of Id-ul-Fitr began on Sunday, the Muslims in Nepal realised once again that they are still being socio-politically ignored in "secular" Nepal.

As Sunday is a working day in Nepal, all government offices, banks, schools and colleges remained open on the day of Id-ul-Fitr, even though nearly 10 per cent of Nepal’s populace is Muslims.

In fact, Muslims have always been deprived of their rights in Nepal, which was the world’s only Hindu Nation. The entire Muslim population was highly optimistic after Nepal transformed itself as a “secular nation” in June 2006.

The Girija Prasad Koirala-led government had decided to declare a government holiday on Id-ul-Fitr.

“But, it is sad that there has hardly been any change in the holiday list,” Mehboob Shah, president of Nepal Muslim Ekta Party, told Hindustan Times on Sunday.

“It (Id-ul-Fitr) is a joyous occasion and everyone should take part in the celebrations for better integration of Nepal,” he said.

The leaders of Nepal Muslim Ettahad Organisation (NMEO) also criticised the government for continuing to perform as a spiritual Hindu-nation. They demanded that the government should immediately rectify itself and announce holidays on Muslim festivals.

Trying to recover from a series of communal clashes in Kapilavastu and Butwal, the government during the last one year, has shown no signs to transform Nepal as a “secular nation”.