NEPAL – Police in Nepal Arrest Pastor for Touting Healing Prayer amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Morning Star News | March 26, 2020

Police in Nepal arrested a Christian pastor this week, accusing him of giving false information about COVID-19 by saying Christian prayer could bring healing from the disease, sources said.

Pastor Keshab Acharya, 32, was taken into custody on Monday (March 23) from his home in Pokhara, Gandaki Pradesh Province, after a video appeared on social media of him rebuking the novel coronavirus as he preached to his church, according to his wife, Junu Acharya.

Pastor Acharya received a phone call from a man requesting prayer for his sick wife at about 8 p.m., she said.

“The person wanted to come to our home for prayer, and my husband agreed, provided him the address and asked him to come over so we can pray for his wife,” Junu Acharya told Morning Star News.

While they waited, the couple’s 2-year-old son wanted to dance with them to a Christian song, Junu Acharya said.

“We were dancing joyfully when there was a knock on the door,” she said. “Three male police officers and a female police officer were at the door. They told us that they were also Christian and needed prayers, and that they had called Pastor Acharya and came for prayer.”

After coming inside, the officers surrounded the pastor and told them they were arresting him, she said. They said he was being charged based on a video circulating in social media in which he prays against and rebukes the novel coronavirus.

“My husband said, ‘If there was any charge against me, you could have let me know directly, and I would have come to the police station all by myself,’ because our 2-year-old son and I were panicked,” Junu Acharya said. “I immediately called two of the brothers from our church who can drive and followed the police’s vehicle. I was afraid that he would be beaten up by police or would be taken to somewhere else. I wanted to ensure that they were taking him to the police station.”