Nepal's Constituent Assembly rejects calls for Hindu state; protesters clash with police

Nepal's Constituent Assembly has rejected calls to revert the Himalayan nation back to a Hindu state during voting on a draft of the long-delayed new constitution.

Hundreds of Hindu protesters, meanwhile, clashed Monday with police who fired water cannons and beat them with bamboo batons.

The assembly began voting on the constitution draft Sunday. The proposal to make Nepal a Hindu state was rejected by more than two-thirds of the members.

Nepal was a Hindu nation for centuries when kings ruled, but has been a secular state since the monarchy was abolished in 2006.

The protesters Monday attacked passing vehicles, including one of the United Nations. No one appeared to be seriously injured in the tussles.

Nepal's main political parties are attempting to get the new constitution passed this week.