Blasts in Nepal churches after rejection of Hindu state proposal

Blasts in churches and a police station were reported in violence-hit Nepal on Monday night, hours after the constituent assembly drafting a new Constitution rejected a proposal to declare the country a Hindu state.

Police said no one was wounded in the blasts at two churches in the far-eastern Jhapa district but three policemen were in grave condition after a bomb brought from another church exploded at a police station.

Pamphlets belonging to an organisation called Hindu Morcha Nepal were found at the churches, said reports quoting local officials.

The Himalayan nation has been on the edge since the draft Constitution was unveiled last month, with a proposal to carve the country of 28 million people into seven states or provinces.

More than a 100 people were killed in violent protests that broke out as Madhesi and Tharu communities alleged the plan to split their narrow region in the southern plains bordering India and merge the pieces into larger provinces with other ethnic groups will prevent them from getting adequate political representation.

The Madhesis want a bigger area than proposed in the draft finalised in the constituent assembly.

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The situation worsened on Monday as religious organisations and right-wing parties vented their anger after the constituent assembly quashed a proposal by the Rashtriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal that the nation should revert to its Hindu state status.

It was a Hindu kingdom for centuries until a palace massacre, mass uprising and civil war demolished monarchy and Parliament declared it a secular nation in 2008.

But pro-Hindu outfits have stoked underlying sentiments of the Hindu-majority country to junk its secular credentials.Some 2,500 pro-Hindu activists carrying yellow and saffron flags marched in Kathmandu chanting slogans and clashed with police when they were prevented from getting near Parliament building on Monday.

Nepal, governed by an interim constitution for years now, could expect to promulgate the new statute on September 20 — seven years after the process began.

Since an earthquake in April that killed thousands of people, there has been pressure on politicians to speed up the drafting process despite differences between political elites in Kathmandu and scattered but influential ethnic groups.



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