9 hurt in attack during Nepal opposition strike

AP News
Posted: Nov 13, 2013 9:02 AM
9 hurt in attack during Nepal opposition strike

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Attackers hurled a gasoline bomb at a passenger van in Nepal's capital during an opposition-called transport blockade Wednesday, injuring nine people, most with burns on their faces and body, police said.

On the second-day of the transport strike, many drivers defied the blockade following government assurance of security and compensation for damaged vehicles. Opposition activists have set fire to buses, trucks and cars since Monday to enforce the blockade, but life was beginning to get back to normal on Wednesday.

The alliance of 33 opposition parties is demanding a stop to next week's elections and a change in government. They ordered the nine-day transport strike after enforcing a general strike on Monday that brought much of the country to a standstill.

After the attack on the van during the evening rush hour, the attackers fled and police are searching for them, police official Hemanta Bahadur Pal said. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Among those injured are a 4-year-old child and two women. They are being treated at Grande Hospital, and doctors said all of them are in stable condition.

The Nov. 19 polls to elect a Constituent Assembly are the second national elections since Nepal's 10-year civil war ended in 2006.

A previous assembly was tasked with writing a constitution in 2008, following the overthrow of the centuries-old monarchy. But the assembly was riven by political battles and never accomplished its task.

The current interim government was formed by the major political parties and is led by the Supreme Court's chief judge. The opposition alliance is demanding the current government be disbanded and a new government with representation from all the political parties be formed to conduct elections at a later date.