At least 50 Maoist cadres were detained today for torching vehicles and attacking shops during a general strike enforced by their party against the killing of six people in clashes between the police and homeless squatters in Kailali, even as the government blamed the ex-rebels for violence in the remote western region.

Schools, colleges and markets remained shut and transportation services were halted in major cities across the country as life came to a standstill during the strike.

Maoist cadres took to the streets here and blocked roads by burning tyres, the police said. They torched a motorcycle in Koteshwor and vandalised another six vehicles for defying the shutdown in various parts of the capital city.

There were also reports of minor clashes between police and agitating Maoist cadres in Chabahil, Lainchaur, Gaushala and Baneshwor areas.

Some 50 Maoist cadres involved in stoning of shops and vandalising vehicles were taken into custody, said Kathmandu’s Chief Superintendent of Police Ganesh Khatri Chhetri.

The Nepalese government, which stepped up police patrolling in view of the Maoists’ strike, blamed former rebels for recent clashes between police and homeless squatters in Kailali saying they were encouraging locals to encroach forest area.

The Maoists were responsible for the killing of five civilians and a policeman during a demolition drive in Kailali district, Home Minister Bhim Rawal, told reporters.

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