Kathmandu, Nepal (AHN) – Agitating supporters of an ethnic rights group stopped vehicles and shut down markets in the country’s capital, Kathmandu on Monday demanding that the city be turned into an autonomous state.

The Newa Swayata Rajya Manka Struggle Committee, an apex organization of all the Newars including different political parties, called the strike in 12 districts in and around Kathmandu valley demanding for an autonomous state and annulment of Urban Development Bill.

The committee demanded that the capital be declared an autonomous state for the Newa ethnic group and that their language be recognized as one of Nepal’s official languages.

Agitating supporters of the ethnic right group vandalized 29 vehicles in course of enforcing their strike in the capital’s Kalimati vegetable market as the agitators and shop owners engaged in clash, police said.

Normal life in the capital and a few other adjoining districts has been badly hit due to the strike. While all academic institutions and businesses have remained closed, both private and public vehicles have chosen to remain off the road, according to reports.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-01June09-4:18 pm (BST)