Date: October 20, 2015
Nepal (MNN) — For the last two months, conflict and anger have simmered between Nepal and India, and it doesn’t look like there’s an end to it in the near future.
In response to a new constitution and the declaration of Nepal as a secular nation, riots and protests erupted, mainly from extremists wanting to “revisit” the constitution and declare Nepal a Hindu nation.
Among these protestors is the Madhesi community which lives along the Nepal-India border, where around 80% of Nepal’s supplies and all of their gasoline and fuel pass through. To keep supplies from moving further into the country, the Madhesi people have set up tents in protest.
As a Hindu nation, India is looking to spread their religion to neighboring countries. It is now supporting the Madhesi and withholding most supplies.
“Basically, India is trying to slowly choke [Nepal],” says Noel Becchetti of Asian Access. “I saw a recent report where they will let a little bit of supplies in and then stop. So they’re basically trying to cripple the country to get across the message, ‘You better change your constitution to make it more Hindu-friendly.’”
Due to shortages, prices have skyrocketed.
“In Kathmandu, there literally are five mile-long petrol queues at gas stations. Everywhere, the combination of the blockade and the agitation have meant that for two months now, ordinary people have not been able to get about, their essential supplies are running out, schools have been closed, and hospitals have been running out of medicine,” said Nepali Times editor Kunda Dixit.
Nepal isn’t giving in, despite the scarcity. They’re simply looking for other options. But because India is such a large provider around the world, there’s not much that other countries are doing.
“I know that Nepal has gone to the United Nations and is trying to appeal it through there, but I have not seen any response of note from the U.N. I don’t see the U.S. stepping up, and I really don’t see anybody else,” Becchetti says.
However, China is attempting to step up to the plate. “China is kind of quietly trying to open some supply lines. There are roads from China into Nepal, but they’re–even by Nepalese standards–pretty poor condition roads. And in that country, that’s saying something.”
Any aid China supplies will be a trickle, and according to the Huffington Post, India believes help will only be temporary. “China cannot, in the long run, substitute India in Nepal.”
Becchetti notes not much other help is being given because “there are lots of things going on. So when you’ve got Russia firing missiles into Syria, and you’ve got lots of major issues happening even as we speak, they tend to grab the world’s attention.”
Trials are increasing, but many Nepalese who have found Christ are recognizing them as direct spiritual attacks. The persecution they’re facing is simply making believers stronger in their faith.
“The Gospel is making real advances. A lot of people are becoming believers in Hindu countries, in Muslim countries, in Buddhist countries,” Becchetti says.
Alongside indigenous believers is Asian Access. “The main leaders for Asian Access are scraping together enough fuel and supplies. They’re making a trip to Southern Nepal specifically for outreach because that’s an area where a lot of people are becoming interested in the Gospel and becoming believers.”
Be praying that the pressures from India will die down and Nepal will continue looking to God for comfort, help, and tangible support.