Bomb Explosion in Nepal Church Leaves 2 Dead, 15 Injured

A bomb exploded in a church in Nepal's capital Kathmandu killing two and injuring dozen others.

The explosion occurred at 9.15 a.m Saturday at the Assumption Church in Dhobighat in Lalipur district, police said.

According to sources, there were at least 500 people attending the church service when the blast went off. Since Sundays are working days, Christians usually attend church on Saturdays when schools and offices remain closed

Two have been declared dead and 15 others injured were admitted to the nearby Patan Hospital. The dead have been identified as Celestina Joseph, 15-year old student, and Pabitra Paitra, a 30-year old housewife.

The general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Nepal, Dr. K.B. Rokaya, told Christian Today that he was deeply pained by the incident that "occurred in one of the largest church in Nepal."

"This is a very sad incident. This is going to affect the harmonious co-existence and religious tolerance of Nepal. This certainly should be condemned as innocent people have died," he said.

Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, initial investigation suggests the handiwork of Hindu extremists. Pamphlets from the 'National Defence Army'- a Hindu extremist group - were found in the blast site.

"This is a newly emerged Hindu group. In the past too there have been such incidents against Christians which the group was involved," pointed out Rokaya.

The same extremist group had last year murdered an Indian priest Fr. John Prakash. The 60-year-old Salesian priest who served as the principal of Don Bosco Christian school in Sirsiya, Morang district, was shot dead by five masked men at his residence.

NDA, which strives to restore Nepal as an exclusive Hindu nation, has been responsible for several bomb blasts across Nepal from the year 2006.

Nepal had been a monarchy throughout most of its history. After it was declared a federal democratic republic in May 28, 2008, the country never witnessed any attack of this sort on churches.

The explosion has come in the backdrop of recent political turmoil and the process of forming new government that began on Friday.

Nepal, according to the 2001 census, has 80.6 percent Hindus, 10.7 percent Buddhists, 4.2 percent Muslims and 0.5 percent Christians.