KATHMANDU: Security has been tightened today across Nepal, including in towns bordering India in the southern plains, following minor blasts in churches as the country prepares to unveil a long-awaited new secular Constitution that has triggered violent protests.
Three policemen were slightly injured as minor explosions occurred in churches in Jhapa district in eastern Nepal, Home Ministry spokesperson Laxmi Dhakal said.
The blasts came in the wake of Nepal's parliament rejecting an amendment proposed by Rastriya PrajatantraParty-Nepal in the Constituent Assembly seeking reinstatement of the country as a Hindu state.
Clause-wise voting on the final draft of the Constitution, to be unveiled on Sunday, continued for the fourth day in the 601-member assembly today as part of the Constitution-making process.
Out of a total of 598 valid members of the assembly, only 538 members are taking part in the voting as 60 others belonging to the Madhesi parties are boycotting the vote.
Yesterday, four persons including a four-year-old child were killed in police firing when clashes occurred inRupandehi district in southeast Nepal.
The clashes occurred when the agitating cadres of MadhesiFront attacked trucks carrying goods from India and escorted by the police on a national highway.
The cargo were being during the indefinite general strikethat has been enforced by the Madhesi parties in southern Nepal for more than a month.
The Madhesi Front has been launching intensified protests in southern Nepal against the new constitution being tabled in the Constituent Assembly that proposes to split Nepal intoseven provinces as part of a federal state.
The main political parties now agree on seven federal states, but smaller parties and ethnic groups oppose either the number or the structure of the states.
The month-long violent protest campaign launched by the Madhesi Front and the Tharuhat Struggle Committee in southern and western Nepal has so far claimed more than 40 lives.
The Madhesi parties are instead demanding an autonomous region in the southern Terai plains and more rights andrepresentation for the Madhesi people living in the south.
The ethnic groups claim having a separate state would give them a stronger say in local affairs.