Christians in the now-secular state of Nepal, which until nearly a decade ago was the world’s only Hindu kingdom, are protesting the government’s decision to drop Christmas from the list of recognized holidays. A petition protesting the decision drafted by a group of Christian leaders in Nepal will be delivered soon to Prime Minister K.P. Sharma and Home Affairs Minister Shakti Basnet, according to Barnabas Aid, a British-based advocate for persecuted Christians worldwide.

Basnet has argued the decision to eliminate Christmas was made “not to hurt Christians but to control the rising number of public holidays.” Nepal, situated between China and India, is home to the world’s highest peaks, and its population lives mostly in the valleys between. It became a secular state in 2008, but there has been pressure ever since for it to return to recognition of Hinduism as the official religion. FULL REPORT