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Anti-federal party shuts down Kathmandu valley, Nepal

After beginning the new year with a nationwide general strike, Nepal had its capital paralysed once again Sunday by a fringe party that is opposing the decision by major parties to restructure the former Hindu kingdom into a federal nation.

After beginning the new year with a nationwide general strike, Nepal had its capital paralysed once again Sunday by a fringe party that is opposing the decision by major parties to restructure the former Hindu kingdom into a federal nation.

[ReviewAZON display=”searchquery” query=”Nepal” count=”3″ category=”Books” page=”1″ sort=”default”]The Rastriya Jana Morcha (RJM), a splinter left party, began blocking main roads in Kathmandu valley and set at least two vehicles on fire Sunday to protest against the move towards federalism, police said.

The RJM split from the Jana Morcha in 2006 after the latter joined an alliance of major parties with the former Maoist guerrillas to oppose the army-backed rule of King Gyanendra.

It is opposed to the Maoists as well as the decision by the united parties to restructure Nepal into autonomous states.

The RJM says the decentralisation of power will encourage the fragmentation of the country on ethnic lines and could eventually lead to secession.

Though not an influential party, it has since the last fortnight imposed six region-wise general strikes on districts outside Kathmandu valley to protest against federalism.

Protests have been growing as Nepal nears its date with a new constitution.

The new statute is to be enforced May 28 this year and will put the seal of approval on the transformation of Nepal, once the world’s only Hindu kingdom, into a secular federal republic.

Though Nepal’s major parties say they support federalism, however, with the new statute dawning nearer, there is dissent from them as well.

This month, Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala created a controversy when she said a referendum should be held to decide if Nepal should become federal.

Koirala is also the daughter of former prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who heads the Nepali Congress, the biggest party in the ruling alliance.

Her statements are regarded as being the thoughts of her father, who exerts iron control over Nepal’s politics.

–Indo-Asian News Service

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