Pro-Hindu party workers thrashed by Nepal cops

Kathmandu, Mar 20: Nepal Police today fired tear gas shells and baton charged workers of a pro-Hindu party in Kathmandu, injuring more than a dozen of them when they were protesting against the poll watchdog's decision to remove "Hindu state and monarchy" clauses from the party's statute. 

The Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), a partner in the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Prachanda's government, had staged a protest outside the Election Commission's office against the decision it took on Friday to remove the clauses. 

The EC has said the clauses contradict the constitutional provisions of a republican system and secularism. The pro-Hindu party has termed the decision "unconstitutional" and said it will challenge it in court. 

RPP's chairman and Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa led the protest outside the EC's office when the clashes between the police and the party cadres erupted. 

Police baton charged the workers and fired tear gas cells to disperse the agitators. More than a dozen RPP cadres were injured. Some policemen too received injures, officials said. 

Former RPP chairman and senior party leader Pashupati Shamsher Rana and other lawmakers were among those injured, 

party sources said.

As part of their protest against the EC's decision, RPP leaders and cadres have staged protest outside District Election Offices in several parts of the country. 

The party on Saturday decided to launch street protests and seek "constitutional remedy" against the EC decision. The decision to remove the clauses from the statue of the RPP has come as the party was seeking to register the organisation to participate in the local body polls scheduled for May 14.

The RRP has been campaigning for reinstatement of Nepal as a Hindu State after the country was converted into a "secular" nation through a parliament declaration in 2008, when monarchy was abolished with the success of the multi-party People's