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Monday, April 17, 2006

Nepal On The Brink: Sensing Kill, Opposition Intensifies Rallies, While King Offers Sops

In keeping with the tradition of the Shah dynasty to reign in accordance with the popular will, in the greater interest of the nation and people and our unflinching commitment towards constitutional monarchy and multiparty democracy, we through this proclamation affirm that the executive power of the Kingdom of Nepal, which was in our safekeeping, shall from this day be returned to the people and the exercise according to Article 35 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990. King Gyanendra address to the nation, broadcast by Radio Nepal

"This is incomplete," Minendra Risal of Nepali Congress Democratic party, one of the seven main opposition parties that have joined with Maoist insurgents to protest the king's power grab. "The constitutional assembly is the aspiration of the people." Binaj Gurubacharya

Today is the second week of rallies and protests against King Gyanendra, who assumed office when the heir to the throne wiped away the royals and then took his own life.

Nepal abolished absolute monarchy in 1991. Current King sacked the government and regained absolute powers in February 2005, ostensibly to curb the Maoists. Various reporters and agencies unanimously agree the Maoists today control the countryside.

Since 1996 the Maoist insurgency has claimed 13,000 lives.

The Seven Oppositions Parties have been joined by the Maoists to demand constitutional rule that would either eliminate monarchy for ever or reduce and curb the monarch’s powers.

How that scenario would play out is speculative at best right now.

The death toll has risen to 14 in the current protests.

In what could be regarded as interference anywhere else, the U.S. Ambassador James Moriarty has reportedly said hours before the King delivered his speech, "His time is running out, ultimately the king will have to leave if he doesn't compromise. And by 'ultimately' I mean sooner rather than later."

Finding himself out of favour of Lord Pashupatinath and Lord Bush the King made the offer in the quotes mentioned above.

* * *

Courtesy newest DesiCritic Beena Sarwar, and Tapan Kumar Bose I bring you this:
Dear colleagues, sisters, brothers, friends and
comrades in struggle

I am writing this from Kathmandu. It is about 8.00 a.m. Nepal time. The entire valley was under curfew for 25 hours yesterday, April 20, 2006, the 15th day of the ongoing civic protest against the autocratic king and his army. The curfew which was first clamped for 18 hours from 2.00 a.m. in the mourning of April 20, till 8.00 p.m. was extended till 3.00 a.m. to April 21. Now the king has announced re imposition of curfew from 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. Within another one hour the entire valley will be under curfew again.

Yesterday,(April 20) as you have learnt from the news channels and news papers that hundreds of thousands of common people of Nepal, young, old, men, women and children had come out on the streets, not just in Kathmandu, but in almost every urban centre of Nepal to participate in the protest rally called by the Seven-Party Alliance. The CPN Maoists have also joined in the peaceful protests under the 12-point agreement signed between them and the Seven Party Alliance in November 2005.

The army and the security forces of the king used all forms of violence, beating up, kicking, firing tear gasing and shooting live bullets at the protesters. As per reports four persons were killed in Kathmandu. According to eyewitness account, one person was shot on the roof of a house in Kalanki as he was watching the rally in front of his house. Another young boy of about 17 years was kicked to death on the street. The security forces opened fire in several places in Kathmandu. Reports from media persons and other eyewitness from Kalanki, Sadtobato, Balkhu, Chabail, Chapa gaum, Khumaltar, Maitidevi Gwarko(Lalitpur) and Gangabu confirm that the injured were not allowed access to medical help. Ambulances and other vehicles which could have helped ferrying the injured to hospitals were not allowed to move as curfew passes were denied to them. Nepal Red Cross, ICRC and other Human Rights monitoring agencies were not allowed to do their work. Most of the injured were looked after by medical doctors participating in the protest rallies at roadside medicine shops who opened up defying the curfew orders.

News from outside the valley conform that more than a hundred and fifty thousand came out on the streets in Narayangadh in support of the demand for restoration of "complete democracy" and establishment of a new constitution assembly.

This is no longer a protest organised by political parties. It is a people's movement. The Seven Party Alliance had requested one person from every family to participate in the protest rally of April 20. From the number of people who came out defying the curfew and the overcoming the fear of bullets was enormous. I have seen the expression on the faces of the people on the streets yesterday. They are determined. They are fearless, They know what they want and are not going to be stopped by the army of the king. The days of the king and compromised politicians are over.

I appeal to all of to support this movement of the people of Nepal. They want democracy and they want to decide the future architecture of the state and the polity through a democratically elected Constituent Assembly. This king and his army are against this demand of the people of Nepal. He has let lose a reign of terror on the people. He is killing, torturing and jailing people. His army and security forces have been looting the poor people and raping Nepali women in the rural and urban areas. He has lost all legitimacy to rule. His "government" is illegal and immoral. Those who recognise this killer king and still deal with his rouge government can not escape the responsibility for these deaths that are taking place in Nepal. They are helping him to trample on the aspirations of the people.

It time for the international community to reject this rogue regime and call on the Seven Party Alliance to form an interim government. The Seven party Alliance should be helped to follow the road map that they and the Maoists drew up together for restoration of peace and complete democracy in Nepal.

I appeal to all democratic peoples of South Asia to came forward and support the Nepalese people in this hour of need. This is great moment in the history of our region. Let us not let another movement for democracy be crushed.

I particularly appeal to the human rights defenders of South Asian countries to come to Nepal now and see for them selves the terror that a rouge king has let lose and how the courageous people of Nepal, the poorest country of our region are facing this terror.

I also appeal to every person of conscience to come to Kathmandu NOW and be with the people of Nepal and help them in their struggle. Any one who will like to respond to this appeal, please contact the undersigned.

Tapan Kumar Bose
Secretary General,
South Asia Forum for Human Rights
Tel: (+)977-1-5541026
Fax: (+) 977-1-5527852
Mobile (Indian)(+) 91-9818001206

Read more about the Chaubese (twenty-four) at their blog aptly called


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