KATHMANDU, July 25: The United Nations has voiced "deep concern" over escalating violence against schools in Nepal by militants it said were endangering children´s lives and jeopardising their right to education.
Local media have blamed student wings of various political factions for destroying computers in a Kathmandu college and torching school buses in the capital, the southern district of Chitwan and the eastern city of Dharan.
The UN´s head in Nepal, Robert Piper, urged government officials and politicians late Tuesday to "ensure that children in Nepal are allowed to thrive, grow and be educated in an atmosphere free of violence and terror".
"While the incidents of the past weeks damaged school property, the most recent attacks on school buses, some with children still inside them, could have had disastrous consequences," Piper said in a statement with UNICEF and UNESCO representatives Hanaa Singer and Axel Plathe.
"Such acts of violence go against the basic principles of children´s right to education in a protective environment free from fear."
Six years after the end of Nepal´s civil war between Maoist rebels and the army, political stability remains elusive, with the Himalayan nation having dissolved its parliament after lawmakers failed to ratify a new constitution.
Analysts believe the latest spate of violence has been carried out by youth activists from rival factions of opposition parties as a means of attracting support and cash for their competing causes.