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West Nepal shut down by group seeking Hindu state

Violence erupted in western Nepal Monday as a Hindu group clamped a shutdown demanding the restoration of a Hindu state ahead of the promulgation of a new constitution in May.

A little-known group calling itself the Vishwa Ekata Parishad set two buses and a motorcycle on fire in Kailali district for venturing out during the general strike that has affected nearly five remote districts.

The group is seeking to reinstate Hinduism as the state religion. Nepal was the only Hindu kingdom in the world till 2006, when an anti-monarchy campaign led to parliament declaring the country secular.

Two years later, a newly elected house also abolished monarchy by overwhelming majority to turn Nepal into a secular, federal republic.

A new constitution, to be promulgated in May, is expected to consolidate the nature of the secular republic and bring lasting peace in a country racked by a decade of Maoist insurgency and political upheavals.

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Desh Kapoor

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