Students clash with police in Nepalese capital

Students clashed with police and stopped rush-hour traffic in the Nepalese capital on Monday to protest the killing of a dozen civilians last week during a rampage by an army soldier. Policemen beat the protesting student with batons and fired several rounds of tear gas outside at least three colleges in Katmandu. Several students were hurt in the scuffles, student leader Balgopal Upadhaya said.

Students burned tires to bring traffic to a halt in many areas of Katmandu and threw rocks at riot police who tried to clear the streets. The students were protesting killing of 12 civilians by a soldier after an argument in a village near Katmandu on Wednesday night.

The Royal Nepalese Army identified the soldier as Basudev Thapa and said he was killed in the incident at Nagarkot village, but has not said how he died. The army said it was still investigating.

Thapa, who was reportedly intoxicated, got into an argument with the villagers and returned around midnight on Wednesday, spraying them with bullets, killing 12 and wounding 19 others.

Since King Gyanendra seized absolute power earlier this year, saying he needed total control to defeat communist rebels, the army has faced stepped-up criticism from human rights groups for using excessive force and killing civilians.

The Himalayan country's military has been repeatedly accused of violating human rights in its fight against the Maoist rebels, who have been fighting since 1996 to topple Nepal's monarchy and establish a communist state, reports the AP. I.L.

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