A man responsible for killing at least six people in various bombing incidents could be set free from his life in prison sentence.
Ram Prasad Mainali, 39, spearheaded the Nepal Defense Army (NDA), a faction with the interest of re-establishing Nepal as a Hindu nation. The group was responsible for bombing several Christian and Muslim houses of worship in Nepal.
In the bombing of the Catholic Assumption Church in 2009, two women and a schoolgirl died. Mainali was arrested and charged with organizing the attack.
Despite being imprisoned at the Kathmandu's Dilli Bazar Prison, Mainali was found to have also organized the bombing of two mosques in southern Nepal, where two men died, as well as the killing of Father John Prakash, a Salesian priest from India.
In 2010, Mainali repented for his actions against religious minorities in Nepal, stating that the compassion that he received from Christians compelled him to begin reading the Bible.
“Although I bombed the church, Christians come to meet me everyday,” he said. “No right wing Hindu has come to meet me even once.”
Now, Mainali and other leaders of the NDA are in negotiations with the Nepali government. The groups are working to have the NDA recognized as a political organization in exchange for the NDA surrendering its arms. If an agreement is made between the groups, members of the NDA who are currently in prison will be released, including Mainali.
Nepali Christians and Muslims are skeptical that the actions would be in the best interest of religious minorities in the country.
Balan Joseph, 42, lost his wife Buddhalaxmi and 14-year-old daughter Celeste in the church bombing. He told the Theology News Network that the government requesting the NDA gives up its weapons wouldn't prevent it from acquiring new weapons in the future.
"I have followed my Master's teachings and forgiven Mainali," he said. "If an armed group agreed to surrender its guns and return to the right path, I would say something positive had come out of that tragedy and would not press for legal punishment. However, after hearing about the police report, I am not sure that Mainali would really keep his word. Guns are plentiful in Nepal; you can hand over your weapons and easily get new ones."
Chirendra Satyal, a spokesman for the Assumption Church, compared freeing Mainali to setting a tiger free from the local zoo.
"Those who even think of letting a self-confessed murderer free should be locked in with him," he said. "We pray for Mainali without hatred but the state needs to protect its minorities."