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Muslims group demands preservation of Hindu culture

Muslims group demands preservation of Hindu culture
Highlights

A group of Muslims, who have been residing in the Kathmandu Valley for centuries, has joined hands with the members of local Newar community in their demand for protection of Sanatan Hindu culture after the government moved a Bill aimed at nationalising public and private trusts.

A group of Muslims, who have been residing in the Kathmandu Valley for centuries, has joined hands with the members of local Newar community in their demand for protection of Sanatan Hindu culture after the government moved a Bill aimed at nationalising public and private trusts.

Newar Muslim Society, a local Muslim group, carrying placards, took part in a rally in the heart of Kathmandu city demanding protection of the Sanatan Hindu religion and culture.

"Sanatan Hindu religion could be jeopardised if the Bill, tabled by the Communist Party government in Parliament, gets endorsed," the group said. Guthis are socio-economic institutions (trusts), both public and private, that fund their obligations from incomes from cultivated or leased land assets.

Depending on their obligations, guthis fulfil religious, public service or social roles and could either involve members from a common lineage, or several.

The K P Sharma Oli-led Communist Party government has tabled a Bill in Parliament to amend the Guthi Act and nationalise both public and private guthis and regulate all religious sites under a powerful commission.

Expressing concerns over the controversial provisions of the Bill, the members of the Newar community and trustees of major guthis staged protests on Monday and Tuesday and alleged the government's move is designed to erase the history by wiping out the institutional memory of various indigenous communities.

"By nationalising out guthis, the State intends to suppress our fundamental rights and exploit guthis for commercial purposes.

The Bill is a direct attack on all out tangible and intangible heritage and does not say a word about our religion, heritage, culture or tradition," Satya Narayan Dangol of the Nardevi Shwet Kali Ajima Guthi was quoted as saying in the Kathmandu Post.

Many guthi trustees see the bill as the final straw in the systematic erosion of indigenous Newar culture and rights by the State.

"Once the guthi property is nationalised, it paves the way for the State to do anything with it, even sell it," Prakash Tamrakar, trustee of the Shwet Bhairab Guthi, was quoted as saying.

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