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Nepal Maoists bomb Indian school
June 09, 2004 19:49 IST
An Indian-run school was attacked in Nepal in renewed violence by Maoist rebels who have kept schools closed for four days in a nationwide strike, officials said Wednesday.
Suspected Maoists pointed pistols at the guards of the Modern Indian School before it opened Wednesday, doused seven school buses with petrol and blew the vehicles up with homemade bombs, police said. Several computers inside the school were also smashed, said reports.
Nobody was injured in the attack against the school, which had defied the Maoist strike that has left 7.5 million students out of class since Sunday, deputy police superintendent Ganesh KC said.
The Maoists have been fighting since 1996 to turn the Hindu kingdom into a communist republic in an insurgency that has left more than 9,500 people dead.
The Maoists oppose India's privileged ties with Nepal and in May 2002 torched the kingdom's main school teaching Sanskrit, the priestly language the rebels associate with India and with Hinduism's high castes.
The education strike was called by the pro-Maoist All Nepal National Independent Student Union (Revolutionary) which is demanding the government lift a ban on the union and reduce admission fees at private schools.
School administrators Tuesday met Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and urged him to meet rebel demands to allow schools to reopen.
"Because of the frequent strikes at Nepal's schools at least 20,000 students crossed the border to India in the last academic year for higher studies," said Umesh Shrestha, head of an association of private schools.
Deuba vowed to broker a truce with the Maoists after being sworn in last Thursday by King Gyanendra, who had fired him two years earlier for failing to curb the insurgency and handpicked a cabinet of staunch royalists.
The rebels have given a mixed reaction to Deuba's reappointment, pledging to escalate the insurrection but also calling off a three-day nationwide strike this week which was expected to devastate the economy.
A landmine killed seven policemen and injured seven others who were traveling in a truck Tuesday through southwestern Nepal, where troops shot dead two rebels in a separate incident, a security official said.
More reports from Nepal
Read about: Death of a Monarch