09/25/2008, 00.00
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Maoist government closing all night clubs

by Kalpit Parajuli
Nightlife establishments will have to close by 11 pm. Home Affairs minister claims measure will help smash crime. Businesses and workers protest, go on strike.
 Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Nepal’s new Home Affairs minister has ordered all nightlife establishments to close at 11 pm. Hundreds of nightclubs, discos, bars, restaurants and casinos could be forced to shut down permanently, putting up to 8,000 jobs at risk.

“We have seen many criminal activities take place at night; for this reason I took this initiative to cut down on nightlife activities and better identify criminals,” said Bamdev Gautam, Home Affairs minister of the first government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

Kathmandu Police Chief Sarvendra Khanal likes the minister’s order. “This [decision] has greatly reduced the level of criminal activities and has taken its toll on those who want to turn the city into a centre for illegal international trafficking through night time trading.”

But not everyone agrees. “The problem could have been discussed,” said Samir Gurung, chairman of the Nightlife Business Organisation. “We cannot approve of this sudden unilateral step. This has hit the country’s economy, especially the nightlife industry, its workforce and foreign tourists. What will the world think of the new Maoist-led government when Kathmandu turns into a ghost town at 11 pm?”

Yesterday employers and workers involved in nightlife activities declare a strike to protest the restrictions.

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