Free Press Journal

19 parties enforce Nepal shutdown over Constitution drafting


Kathmandu: A Maoists-led opposition alliance today enforced a general strike in Nepal against Constitution-drafting through voting, paralysing life with reports of vandalism and arson from across the country.

The 19-party alliance led by UCPN-Maoist, Joint Madhesi Front and other fringe parties have backed the agitation aimed at disrupting the process adopted by the Nepali Congress-led government to promulgate the Constitution through voting.

The Nepali Congress and CPN-UML-led alliance has the strength of more than two thirds majority in the 601-member Constituent Assembly that is required to write the Constitution.

Schools, colleges, markets were closed and private and public transport services were halted during the countrywide general strike.

The ruling parties and the opposition alliances were sharply divided on the key issues of the constitution including forms of governance, federal structure and electoral system.

Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) has asked the government to provide security to the journalists.

The protesters have vandalised vehicles belonging to press agencies and misbehaved with journalists in various parts of the country during the bandh, the FNJ said in a statement.

The agitators vandalized a media vehicle along the East-West Highway in Siraha district this morning.

In Lalitpur town near Kathmandu the agitators burnt a taxi for defying the strike.

The political parties were sharply divided on contentious issues of the Constitution including forms of governance and federal structure.

Tension has escalated in the capital and other major cities as the January 22 deadline for promulgating the Constitution is about to expire.

However, Constituent Assembly chairman Subhas Nembang has expressed his commitment to initiate the process of drafting the Constitution trough the voting procedure despite the opposition’s threat to disrupt it.