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28th of November 2022

Mountain Child INC faces accusation of religion conversion in the Himalayas

Kathmandu. Mountain Child INC, one of the INGO in Nepal is alleged of converting the religion of people in the Himalayan region of Nepal by violating the constitution and prevailing laws of Nepal.

Members from “Our Religion Protection Campaign” have lodged a complaint with the Ministry of Home Affairs with the accusations as such. After the complaint was filed, a three member committee was formed to study and investigate the complaint and submit a report with recommendations as per the decision of Social Welfare Council. The purpose of the study was to investigate a complaint lodged with the Ministry of Home Affairs about Mountain Child INC and submit a report with recommendations.

According to the complaint, the organization has acted against the prevailing laws of Nepal to convert people’s religion in the Himalayan region. It is said that, the organization has been giving permission to the only organization which follow Christian religion. It has been found that all the expenses incurred by the children in the hostel are borne by Mountain Child INC from other expenses and the children are converted to Christianity and sent to villages for two years.

Similarly, it has been mentioned in the complaint that foreign nationals have been brought on different visas, run various software and illegally resided in Nepal are involved in various activities. According to the complaint, those foreign nationals have been operating mc guest house, mc travel and trekking, everyday himalayan, dharchwok retreat center, starlight foundation and highland hostel.

The Social Welfare Council’s foreign Assistance Approval Directive, 2071 has a legal provision that when a project proposal is submitted by a non-governmental organization, approval will not be given to operate a project directly related to conversion of faith and religion.

However, during the course of the investigation, no clear evidence was found to support the allegation that the organization had carried out proselytizing activities.
During the study, the committee formed by the council had on-site discussions and interactions with Mountain Child INC’s partner organization and stakeholders.
Discussions and feedback were also taken from the beneficiaries of the program conducted by the organization. In the process, a discussion was held with the staff of Mountain Child INC and written response was sought along with a questionnaire on the complaint.

The complaint also mentions the passport numbers of various foreign nationals and demands their expulsion from Nepal, requesting protection of religion and culture. According to the Constitution of Nepal, one should not engage in any act or behavior that would disrupt the traditional religion, reed or belief in any caste, community or with any intention of converting to another religion with or without showing any temptation.

However, the investigation did not find any evidence that the organization preached the religion. The investigation committee said it could not find a clear basis to support the allegation that Mountain Child INC has carried out conversions in the Himalayan region through a project run by a partner organization in the Buddhist region.

There is also no evidence that the organization was funded by Christians and that only Christians were employed. During the investigation, it has been found that the organization has adopted the selection method according to the organizational process.

Similarly, it has been found that the organization is being run by Buddhist from the Lama community. According to the report, all the employees of the organization and the donor organization did not follow the same religion.

On the other hand, the report says that the guest houses, hostels and travels operated by foreigners directly and indirectly involved with Mountain Child INC may have been registered under the Nepal Companies Act 2063 under the office of the Registrar of Companies. The annual audit report of the organization found no financial expenditure in those names.

Likewise, there was no evidence to support the allegations against the various children in the hostel for preaching and sending them to the village. When the committee studied this, it was found out that teaching children in hostels has been stopped for the last four years. Similarly, the organization has sent a written response saying that the issue of sending Christians to the village was aimed at defaming the organization’s fame.

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