Nepal opposition launches general strike over constitution

  • Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
  • Updated: Apr 07, 2015 14:23 IST

Normal life across Nepal was affected on Tuesday due to a general strike called by opposition parties to protest against a move by ruling parties to promulgate the constitution through majority voting.

Incidents of cadres of the 30-party opposition alliance led by Maoists damaging vehicles and clashing with public and police to enforce the strike were reported from several areas.

"Protestors burnt a taxi and damaged three other vehicles in Kathmandu Valley. We have received reports from other towns of vehicles being damaged due to stone pelting," said Nepal Police spokesperson Kamal Singh Bam.

Police have arrested 17 protestors in Kathmandu and four others from other towns while they were trying to prevent motorists from driving on roads or forcing shopkeepers to down shutters.

Public transport remained off the roads and schools. Offices and business establishments also remained closed across the country.

Opposition parties in Nepal are in loggerheads with the ruling coalition over the issue of federalism in the proposed new constitution.

While opposition parties want new states to be shaped on the basis of ethnicity, ruling parties are against such a division as it might pose a threat to national unity.

The differences led to lawmakers in Nepal missing a constitution drafting deadline in January. Several rounds of talks have failed to end the logjam and the constituent assembly has not been able to function.

Opposition parties want the issue to be resolved through consensus, but the ruling parties are insisting that since talks have failed the constitution should be promulgated through two-third majority vote.

The general strike is expected to continue for two more days unless there is some agreement between both sides.

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