Blast hits bus stop as Nepal’s new assembly sworn in

May 27th, 2008 - 8:21 pm ICT by admin  

Kathmandu, May 27 (DPA) A bomb exploded at a busy bus stop in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu Tuesday injuring at least six people as the new assembly tasked with declaring the country a republic was sworn in. “Unidentified men hurled the bomb at Ratna Park bus stop area and fled,” Kathmandu district police chief Surbendra Khanal said, adding “at least six people were hit by shrapnel from the blast and two of the wounded are in serious condition.”

Police said it was a homemade bomb and blamed the GPF Ranvir Sena group for the attack.

The group was blamed for similar attack Monday near to where the newly elected constituent assembly was scheduled to meet Wednesday.

The police said group has carried out similar attacks demanding Hinduism be reinstated as the country’s official religion and opposed the abolition of monarchy.

The blast came just hours after the new assembly, tasked with writing a new constitution and ratifying parliament’s decision to abolish the monarchy, was sworn in.

At a special ceremony, senior member Kulbahadur Gurung, 77, administered the oath of office to 568 members in the 601 seat assembly, including the incumbent Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and the Maoist chief Prachanda.

Of the remaining members, 26 are to be nominated by the government while seven others elected to the assembly are being investigated by a court over allegations of vote rigging.

The members, who represent Nepal’s diverse ethnic groups, took their oaths in more than 40 languages.

Earlier Tuesday, Nepal’s three main political parties agreed on the system of government paving the way for the Maoists to head the new government.

The agreement came after three days of talks over difference between the Maoists, who want a powerful president and the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal - Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) who want a ceremonial president as the head of state but a prime minister with full executive powers.

“The Maoists dropped their demands for powerful president which paved the way for agreement,” General Secretary of CNP-UML Jhalanath Khanal told reporters.

“The meeting also agreed to draft a proposal to declare the country a republic which will be tabled at Wednesday’s meeting of the constituent assembly,” Khanal said.

Khanal said he expected the proposal to pass without a problem and Nepal would officially become a republic.

The government has also decided to declare three days of national holiday to celebrate the declaration of republic starting Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a strike called by a group calling itself the Terai army against the declaration of republic has paralysed transport and normal life in several districts in southern Nepal.

Media reports said the strike had shut down shops, educational institutions and transport had been halted but there had been no reports of violence.

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