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Maoist pupils strike

NEPAL: More than 4,000 schools were closed when pupils affiliated to the Maoist guerrilla movement rejected the government's education reforms.

The 29-point plan, announced last week, included free education up to grade 10 for the poorest pupils, mother-tongue primary lessons and controls on private school charges. The government also agreed to make the teaching of Sanskrit optional - a target of the Maoist movement which says it is the language of the Nepalese aristocracy.

But a press statement from the All Nepal National Independent Students Union (Revolutionary) rejected the reforms and confirmed the "indefinite period of strikes". Its campaign has targeted Nepal's private schools by placing bombs and attacking teachers.

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