Nepalese Maoists have called for a nationwide strike next week to protest the government's move to award a controversial contract for supply of smart passports to Indian government firm, even though the country's apex court has stayed the decision.
After a meeting of the Unified CPN-Maoist party on Thursday, the former rebels decided to step up pressure on the government to end the contract.
"Our party calls a nationwide general strike on April 12 demanding annulment of the anti-national move taken in a blatant violation of the existing legal provisions and the prerogatives of the parliamentary Public Account Committee and national security," Maoist chairman Prachanda said in a statement on Friday.
The Supreme Court has stayed the government's decision to award the contract for supplying Machine Readable Passports to an Indian firm after a petition charged that it was given without proper bidding procedures.
A single bench of Justice Sushila Karki issued the stay order yesterday after an initial hearing, according to court sources.
The court has asked the Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala to furnish before the court their reply on the petitioners' allegations.
The government last month awarded the MRP contract to the India's Security Printing and Minting company to supply passports at the rate of $ 4 per document.