Nepal (Mission Network News) – In 2015, Nepal changed its constitution to become a secular nation with the freedom of religion. However, in October, Nepal’s President Bidhya Dev Bhandari signed a Criminal Code Bill into law. This law, known as the anti-conversion law, makes religious conversion illegal and punishable by five years in prison and a fine of 50,000 rupees.
The law technically prohibits any person from sharing their faith or converting to a different faith. Furthermore, the freedom of religion in Nepal was already restricted by the 2015 constitution in Article 26 (3) where it states,
“No person shall, in the exercise of the right conferred by this Article, do, or cause to be done, any act which may be contrary to public health, decency and morality or breach public peace, or convert another person from one religion to another or any act or conduct that may jeopardize other’s religion and such act shall be punishable by law.”
It’s questionable if this law was influenced by Nepal’s relationship with India, a country where many of its states also have anti-conversion laws. With that said, when Nepal declared itself as a secular nation, India essentially blackmailed the nation by blocking supplies from entering.