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Maoists attack Nepali Congress leader's house

world Updated: May 04, 2010 23:57 IST

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The Maoist cadres attacked the house of a senior Nepali Congress leader as the former rebels laid siege to the capital today in a political standoff with the government.

A group of Maoist cadres stormed the house of Prakash Man Singh and pelted stone at the building that also has a restaurant for defying their strike this evening, a police official said.

They broke window panes of 'Delicious Day' French restaurant at 8 pm, he said. However, nobody was injured in the incident.

A police van rushed to the restaurant complex and security has been beefed up in the area after the incident.

The senior leader, who resides in an adjoining building in the complex, was unhurt.

The Maoists attacked the restaurant as it remained open after 8 pm, the deadline set by the former rebels for all shops and restaurants to shut down in the evening.

The Maoists' crippling strike began to take a toll on the people and led to short supply of essential food items in the capital today.

Tens of thousands of Maoist activists wearing red t-shirts formed a human chain to lay siege to the capital. The agitation shut down most transport, schools, and businesses, grinding daily business down to a standstill as Maoists cadres staged mass rallies and threatened anyone who defied the anti-government campaign.

The government started evacuating scores of tourists, mainly foreigners, stranded by the strike out of the capital. Local official said scores of tourists, mostly Indians, were escorted out of the town by armed police.

"We have been organising a shuttle bus service for tourists, to evacuate those who want to leave the country," an official said. "Many have already left the city. The protesters have not targeted tourists or vehicles carrying tourists."

The Communist Party of Nepal (UML) and the Nepali Congress, the two main constituents of the ruling 22-party coalition, on Tuesday supported the embattled Prime Minister as it asked him not resign under Maoists' pressure.

The Prime Minister should not resign under pressure from the street agitation by the Maoists, said Gopal Man Shrestha, the Vice-president of the Nepali Congress, after the key meeting.

The Maoists, who have around 35 per cent of the seats in parliament, want the government disbanded, followed by the formation of a new coalition government led by them to rescue the peace process and draft a new constitution.