Nepali migrant workers pictured at Koteshwar during Sunday’s general shutdown walking to the Tribhuvan International Airport to catch their flights to foreign labor destinations. (Dipesh Shrestha/ Republica)
KATHMANDU, Nov 13: The nationwide general strike called by the Netra Bikram Chand-led CPN (Maoist) on Sunday partially affected life across the nation, followed by few incidents of vandalism and torching of vehicles.
According to Nepal Police, over 295 Maoist cadres from various districts, including 213 cadres from Kathmandu Valley alone, were arrested since early morning. Of them, 28 were female protestors.
“We made the arrests while the protesters tried to forcefully shut down businesses. They were also trying to smash and torch vehicles,” Nepal Police Spokesperson DIG Hemanta Malla said.
Despite the heavy deployment of security forces, the strike enforcers who were not in 'significant' numbers took to the streets with different demands related to ensuring food security, subsidized food grains, fuel and cooking gas among others. They also said that the strike was against the government remaining indifferent to growing inflation, black-marketing and corruption.
During the general strike, few public transport vehicles were seen plying the capital's roads while relatively more number of vehicles with private number plates were running on the streets. Businesses, schools, colleges and other educational institutions remained mostly closed.
“We will come up with stringent protest programs in the days to come, if our demands are not addressed by the government at the earliest,” Khadga Bahadur Biswokarma, spokesperson of the party, said.
Protestors in Bhaktapur had torched a scooter Ba 66 Pa 9386 causing partial damages to it. An electric-rickshaw Ra 1 Ha 453 in Butwal was torched, a bolero Ba 11 Cha 1881 in Dharan heading to Morang and a truck Na 5 Kha in Sarlahi were vandalized, according to the police.
A car and two motorcycles in Bhimeshwar Municipality of Dolakha were torched by unidentified men while they were parked. The strike enforcers also burnt a Scorpio jeep heading toward Siraha from Kathmandu by about 10 cadres of the party.
Similarly, two motorcycle-borne cadres torched a truck Se 1 Ka 437 in Attariya Municipality of Kailali causing partial damages. A jeep Me 1 Ja 196 was also torched by the cadres while the vehicle was parked.
Police said that they are investigating the cases in detail and assured to take against those involved in the crime as per the prevailing laws. But those cadres arrested were released in the evening on condition that they do not repeat such activities again.