Saturday, July 20, 2024

Why is the US Funding $500,000 for Atheism in Hindu Rashtra Nepal

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A recent confrontation between Republican Congressman Brian Mast and Richard R. Verma has ignited a political firestorm. Verma is Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources in the Biden Administration. At the heart of the controversy is a claim by Mast. It states that the Biden Administration allocated $500,000 to promote atheism in Nepal.

The US Debate on Nepal

The exchange unfolded during Verma’s testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability. Mast, the Chair of the Subcommittee, raised questions about a purported grant request document indicating funding for the promotion of atheism in Nepal. After Verma admitted that it wouldn’t be appropriate for the US to promote any religion including non-religion/atheism, Mast inquired about the alleged $500,000 grant to promote atheism in Nepal.

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He asked Verma, “Half a million dollar grant to Nepal regarding the expansion of atheism, do you believe that is an appropriate use of the money.”

However, the Biden administration official denied extending any such grant to Nepal and argued that the grant was being misconstrued.

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Why Atheism in Nepal?

However, Mast persisted, citing specific language from the grant request document. It endorsed activities related to atheism. He highlighted phrases such as “increased capacity among members of the Atheist and heterodox individuals to form, join networks or organisations”. Another one stated “strengthening the capacity of organisations representing diverse communities of atheists.” Mast’s insistence on the document’s contents underscored the gravity of the situation and raised concerns about transparency and accountability within the Biden Administration.

What is the Agenda Against Nepal?

The alleged funding for atheism in Nepal, concealed under the guise of promoting religious freedom, could potentially strain diplomatic relations between the United States and Nepal. Mast contends that such funding represents a form of external interference in Nepal’s internal affairs and could be perceived as an attempt to alter the country’s religious landscape. With Nepal’s transition from a Hindu state to a secular one in 2006, issues surrounding religion and identity are particularly sensitive, and any perceived meddling from foreign powers is likely to evoke strong reactions from the Nepalese government and populace alike.

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US Breaking Down Hinduism

Moreover, the timing of these allegations is significant, given the backdrop of increasing calls for Nepal to revert to its status as a Hindu Rashtra. The majority of Nepal’s population adheres to Hinduism. Movements advocating for the reinstatement of Hinduism as the state religion have gained momentum in recent years.

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