Supporters of Nepal Maoists, who have often been accused of resorting to violence and intimidation, have now targeted a medical college set up as a joint venture between India's Manipal Group and the government in the Himalayan nation.
Demanding salary hike and other benefits, a Maoist-affiliated trade union has called for the total shutdown of the Manipal College of Medical Sciences in Pokhara city.
Accusing the administration of breach of an earlier agreement, the Maoists union alleged that workers were being paid less than the government announced scale.
The hospital management, however, said none of its workers were getting less than the government-announced scale and the protest is a breach of the past agreement.
"We have provided more salary and benefits than other hospitals in the country," said Medical Superintendent PK Chakrabarty. "We are providing even the sanitation workers more than the Govt-announced scale of Rs 4,600," he added.
The hospital run by the institute has halted all its services, except emergency, causing inconvenience to patients after the 'All Nepal Health Workers Union and Manipal Non-Teaching Staff Union' went on indefinite strike demanding salary hike and other benefits.
The political parties for being soft on its cadres resorting to violence and intimidation to obtain their objectives have flayed the CPN-Maoists, which leads the coalition in Nepal. They have demanded the dismantling of the paramilitary structure of the Maoists' youth organisations, which has openly resorted to violence.
According to hospital authorities, seventy-five patients admitted in the hospital had to be shifted elsewhere on Monday. "The workers were demanding a hike of Rs 2,000 in their salary whereas the hospital management has agreed to an increase by Rs 1,500," hospital sources said.