Nepal: pastor imprisoned for eating beef now released

Reverend Chhedar Lhomi Bhote, 37, was arrested in October 2012 after a Hindu mob attacked and burned his home in north-eastern Nepal near the Tibetan Autonomous Region. He was accused of having consumed beef – taboo in Nepal though not explicitly prohibited for non-Hindus – as well as having killed the cow himself, which is considered a criminal act.

The pastor was arrested and later sentenced to 12 years in prison. After nearly two years of work by several Protestant NGOs and petitions to the Nepal government, the authorities relented and Bhote was released on 17 July, according to a statement on Monday by the The Voice of the Martyrs Canada.

The report from Églises d’Asie, the information agency of the Paris Foreign Missions, concludes by saying that prosecutions for consuming beef are rare in Nepal, a predominantly Hindu nation that forbids Hindus from eating beef but that makes exceptions for non-Hindus. The recent growth of Christianity in north-eastern Nepal has created tensions among the local Hindu community.