03/29/2020 Nepal (International Christian Concern) – According to Morning Star News, a Christian pastor in Nepal has been arrested for praying against the COVID-19 virus on a video that has circulated on social media. The pastor, who was taken into custody on March 23, could face up to six months in prison after being wrongly accused of giving false information about COVID-19.
In a video translated by Morning Star News, Pastor Keshab Acharya prayed in front of his church congregation, saying, “Hey, corona – you go and die. May all your deeds be destroyed by the power of the Lord Jesus. I rebuke you, corona, in the name of Lord Jesus Christ. By the power or the ruler of this Creation, I rebuke you… By the power in the name of Lord Jesus Christ, corona, go away and die.”
According to Junu Acharya, Pastor Acharya’s wife, her husband received a call on March 23 at about 8 p.m. from an unknown man requesting prayer for his sick wife. Pastor Acharya invited the man to come to their house for prayer. However, when there was a knock at the door, four police officers entered the home, surrounded Pastor Acharya, arrested him, and took him to the police station.
Christian leaders in Nepal have spoken out against the arrest of Pastor Acharya. Pastor Mukunda Sharma, Executive Secretary of the Nepal Christian Society, told Morning Star News that he had urged the District Superintendent of Police to act fairly and not implicate Pastor Acharya in any criminal charges.
“I told [the District Superintendent] that the police cannot prosecute the pastor for exercising his faith and that it is a gross violation of human rights,” Pastor Sharma told Morning Star News. “He assured me that the pastor was taken into custody only for an inquiry.”
Despite this assurance, Pastor Acharya was presented before a judge and remanded to judicial custody for seven days. With Nepal now on lock down in response to the spread of COVID-19, Pastor Acharya remains in police custody.