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Strike shuts down Nepal

world Updated: May 13, 2011 13:36 IST

PTI
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Life came to a standstill in Nepal as ethnic groups enforced a general strike, demanding more rights for the indigenous communities and timely drafting of the constitution.

Markets were shut, schools remained closed and highways bore a deserted look in the capital and other major cities across the country.

Police said they detained nearly 60 people who were forcing vehicles to stay off the roads. The strike was called by Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN).

"Sixty people have been detained in connection with the shut down," said Kedar Dhakal, spokesman of Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Circle.

Only emergency and security vehicles were on the streets, and most people were walking to their destinations.

The strike came as the government yesterday proposed a second one-year extension for Nepal's Constituent Assembly, amid the failure of the interim parliament to draft a new constitution in the face of a deadlock among the political parties.

The Communist-led coalition government registered a constitution amendment bill in parliament proposing a one-year extension for the 601-member Assembly, whose term was extended last year in a bid to prevent a constitutional crisis after it failed to promulgate a constitution for the new republic.

Ethnic minorities are expected to get greater rights under the new constitution.

Two taxis were vandalised in Kalimati and Kalanki areas in the outskirt of the capital.

However, Kathmandu's main fruits and vegetable market some other shops in the interior part of the city remained opened despite the strike.

The final examinations for the ten plus two students remained unaffected during the shut down.