Source: Deccan Chronicle
KATHMANDU, NEPAL, May 24, 2001: Nepal may no longer be a Hindu kingdom if a bid by minority communities not to register themselves as Hindus succeeds in this year's census. After three centuries of being under the Hindu umbrella, the janajatis, or minority communities and tribespersons, are demanding the right to propagate their independent culture -- a move encourage by Christian missionaries as a way to divide the Hindus. Nepal has 20.3 million people and its minorities comprise roughly 60 per cent. If the janajatis succeed in their bid, and the ratio of Hindus to other religions becomes say 50-50 or even 60-40, a constitutional crisis may emerge, experts feel. According to a high-ranking official at Janajati Mahasangh (the umbrella organization of minorities), 49 percent of the Limbus, 65 percent of the Rais, 57 percent of the Thakalis and 96.5 percent of the Sunuwars registered themselves as Hindu in 1991.