Thursday, April 27, 2006

Int'l Community Welcomes Royal Address

THT Online

Kathmandu, April 27:The European Union (EU) has urged the implementation of the King's announcement to reinstate the House of Representatives without further ado.

The EU took careful note of the royal proclamations on April 21 and April 24 and the Nepali people's reaction to the twin addresses. It also welcomed the monarch's decision to hand back sovereignty to the people.

"EU fully supports the Nepali people in their aspiration for peace and democracy." The EU has also called on alliance leaders to work out a roadmap for the establishment of peace and democracy in the country.

"Action is needed without delay to restore peace to the country and to put in place a democratic, accountable government," said an EU press release issued on Wednesday.

The EU also welcomed the alliance's nomination of Girija Prasad Koirala as Prime Minister. The EU expects security forces to refrain from using force against pro-democracy demonstrations and to be prepared to work under a democratic government, the statement said.

"The EU continues to urge the transition of the CPN (Maoist) into the democratic political mainstream, but this process must include the renunciation of violence and decommissioning of weapons," said the release.

The EU expressed its commitment to facilitate the functioning of all democratic institutions in Nepal.Meanwhile, Australia also welcomed the reinstatement of parliament. "I welcome King Gyanendra's April 24 announcement that the Nepalese parliament is to be reinstated and will recommence sitting on April 28," said Alexander Downer, Australian minister for foreign affairs in a press statement.

He said Australia supported Nepal's return to multiparty democracy and called on the political parties to join hands to form a responsible and effective government."The Maoists should now cease armed violence, turn to mainstream politics and support the rebuilding of peace, democracy and social development in Nepal," Downer said while expressing Australia's commitment to monitor developments here closely.UK foreign office minister Kim Howells also welcomed King Gyanendra's announcement. "This is a tribute to the Nepali people's desire for democracy and peace. We therefore welcome the King's announcement and the reinstatement of parliament," said Howells in a press statement.The statement said that with the return of multi-party democracy and a government with full executive powers, the moment that the political parties were long looking for had come."The Maoists now need to prove their commitment to democracy by giving up violence and by entering into a peace process with the new government, beginning with ceasefire," the release said.The minister reiterated the UK's readiness to assist the new government and the people of Nepal, while also promoting peace, democracy and development in the country.Associated Press reported on Wednesday that Norway would resume its financial assistance following the King's announcement.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nepalis cautious over king's move

They came in their thousands, young and old, men and women, all marching along the ring road that encircles the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu

Tens of thousands of Nepalese had planned to attend a major opposition rally in protest against the king. Instead, they found themselves rallying for victory.
The king's late night announcement that he was restoring the country's parliament has been welcomed by the political parties which on Tuesday named veteran leader Girija Prasad Koirala as their candidate for prime minister.
"The new parliament will meet on Friday, an interim government will be formed and we will pass resolutions on beginning a dialogue with the Maoist rebels as well as holding elections to a constituent assembly," Communist Party (UML) leader Madhav Kumar Nepal told the BBC.
However, in a strong statement, the Maoists rejected the king's move and said by welcoming the royal proclamation, the parties were making a big mistake.
Senior Maoist leader, Baburam Bhattarai, told the BBC Nepali service that merely restoring the parliament was not going to resolve the problems and that the rebels planned to continue fighting against government forces.
The Maoists and the seven party opposition alliance struck a 12-point agreement last year, which included agreeing to set up an interim government and a constituent assembly.
The Maoists control vast swathes of the countryside and are also heavily armed, one reason why they command a high degree of influence.
Many people also believe that the Maoists have not given up on their goal of turning Nepal into a communist republic.
Not surprisingly, the mood on the streets of Kathmandu is mixed.
While there is an overwhelming sense of relief that the protests have come to an end, many feel that merely restoring parliament is not enough.
The neighbourhood of Kalanki, in the south-east of the capital, has been one of the flashpoints of the rallies - three protesters were killed here last week, shot dead by police.

Some 20,000 protesters gathered here on Tuesday, chanting and cheering.
But in a reminder of the violence that had taken place, many in the crowd held posters and placards with pictures of the dead men.
"We want justice for those who have died," said one protester, Madhav Gurung.
"The police commander who ordered the shooting must be arrested and tried," he said.
Bikash Sharma, 29, teaches English at a local college.
He said the protesters would not be satisfied until the king was overthrown.
"A constituent assembly is needed so that we can have the people's mandate. The king must be replaced by the people's man."
While many welcomed the appointment of a new prime minister, others warned that the political parties should not squander the opportunity.
"The politicians should not fight among each other as they have in the past and try and pursue personal agendas," said another protester, Gyanendra Bhattarai.
"GP Koirala needs to improve on his previous performance," he said.
Mr Koirala has been prime minister on three previous occasions but Nepal's experience of democratic government has been an unhappy one.
The country has had 13 prime ministers since parliamentary democracy was introduced in 1990. Internal bickering and political rivalries meant that all the prime ministers were unseated by rivals before they had completed a term.
Moreover government corruption was seen as a widespread problem by Many Nepalis.

By Sanjoy Majumder BBC News, Kathmandu

From BBC

Nepalis celebrate protest victory

Thousands of Nepalis have held a victory rally in theKathmandu after the king gave in to their demands to reinstate parliament. The seven party opposition alliance said it had called off its weeks of demonstrations and a nationwide strike.

It has chosen former Prime Minister GP Koirala to head a new government.

But Maoist rebels behind a 10-year insurgency rejected King Gyanendra's deal with the opposition, and vowed to continue blockading the capital.

People gathered for the victory rally, waving party and national flags, and shouting slogans against the king from the roofs of vehicles.

"Gyanendra, thief, leave the country," shouted some protesters who had gathered near the royal palace, saying they would not stop demonstrating until the king was stripped of his powers.


Meanwhile the city began to return to normal, after a crippling strike. Taxis were back on the streets, shops were reopened, and mobile phone connections were restored. Riot police were still in evidence, though.

Despite the hardships imposed by the strike, Nepalis insisted it had been worthwhile.

"It is only a small sacrifice for the good of the country," said Sabita Tamang, who has earned nothing from her grocery store for three weeks.

"The prices of food went up so high I had to cut down on what I eat," said Rajendra Sahi, a college student.

He added: "The people have done their part. Now it is the leaders who need to do theirs.

" The king assumed direct powers in February 2005, saying opposition parties were failing to manage the Maoist insurgency.

Communist Party (UML) leader Madhav Kumar Nepal told the BBC the formation of a new government would be "the first step towards a constituent assembly", which would be tasked with redrawing the constitution.

Maoists' next move

But the Maoists said in agreeing the deal with the king, the opposition had betrayed an agreement it made with them in November, which called for fresh elections and an end to an "autocratic monarchy".

The king's concession was "a new ploy to break the Nepali people and save his autocratic monarchy", said Maoist leader Prachanda in a statement.

Until the November agreement was implemented in full, they would blockade Kathmandu and all district capitals, the statement added.

Another senior rebel, Baburam Bhattarai, told the BBC: "The minimum demand is a free election to a constituent assembly."

King's address

During the recent protests, the demonstrators had repeatedly defied shoot-on-sight curfews despite the deaths of 14 people. Girija Prasad Koirala will head the new government In a late-night TV address on Monday, King Gyanendra expressed his "heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost their lives in the people's movement and wish the injured speedy recovery". He added: "We are confident that the nation will forge ahead towards sustainable peace, progress, full-fledged democracy and national unity." He said the lower house of parliament would reconvene on Friday. The US welcomed the king's announcement and said he should now consider assuming a "ceremonial role". More than 13,000 people have died in the Maoist insurgency. Violence has escalated since the rebels ended a truce in January - although they declared a ceasefire in Kathmandu this month as the street protests began.

Monday, April 24, 2006

New York Times

In a Retreat, Nepal's King Says He Will Reinstate Parliament

Binod Joshi/Associated Press
There were street celebrations in Katmandu, Nepal, after King Gyanendra went on television late this evening to concede to the demands of the angry pro-democracy demonstrations.

A four-hour television series and interactive web site by The Times, The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the ZDF network of Germany.

His offer came on the eve of what were billed as the largest demonstrations to date. The political parties that began the protests 19 days ago had been preparing to encircle the city center on Tuesday. Instead, celebrations broke out late Monday night on the streets of the capital, Katmandu.
"We are confident this house will contribute to the overall welfare of Nepal and the Nepali people," the king, looking ashen, told the nation in an address broadcast on state-owned television. "We are confident that the nation will forge ahead toward sustainable peace, progress, full-fledged democracy and national unity."
For the first time, the king acknowledged the protests that have prompted hordes of Nepalese to defy shoot-on-sight curfew orders and have brought the capital to a virtual standstill. At least 13 people have been killed by police officers and soldiers since the demonstrations began. "We extend our heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost their lives to the people's movement," the king said.
He did not, however, explicitly address the demands for a referendum to redraw the nation's Constitution and let the Nepalese people decide on the future of the monarchy. The vote on the Constitution is a principal demand of the Maoist rebels, who have fought a bruising 10-year insurgency to defeat the monarchy.
They have lately linked arms with Nepal's political leaders and offered their blessings to the protests. Their influence has also been felt on the streets, with demonstrators ever more loudly calling for the end of the monarchy.
Whether the Maoists, Nepal's political leaders and the people in the streets would allow King Gyanendra to hold onto the monarchy remained an open question. It also remained to be seen whether the king's latest concession would be resisted by the more radical members of the opposition.
"This is the victory of the people on the street," Ram Chandra Poudel, a central committee member of the Nepali Congress Party, said minutes after the king's address.
The Maoists issued no comment on the king's speech on Monday night. But the previous night, the army said, they attacked government buildings in a small town barely five hours by road from the capital, luring the Royal Nepalese Army into a gunfight that killed six people, including one soldier.
Initially at least, protesters and political leaders greeted the address with glee, though the king stopped short of fulfilling what for him is certainly their most unpalatable demand: his abdication. The king did not renounce the throne, only the power he seized 14 months ago and retained with the help of the security forces under his command.
Certainly, he also gave up more than he had intended. Only three days ago, the king offered to allow the political parties to appoint a prime minister of their choosing. The parties turned down that offer, pinched as they were between pressure from the Maoists, their angry foot soldiers on the street, and their own distrust of the king.
Flouting pressure from abroad, party leaders insisted at the time that they would not stop agitating until the king agreed to reinstate Parliament and permit a referendum on the Constitution, which enshrines the monarchy and gives it control of the military.
Still, the king's offer on Monday to restore Parliament, effective Friday, was a significant retreat.
Within minutes of his appearance, the streets of Katmandu exploded in jubilation.
In the Tinkune section of the capital, a man with bandages around his head jumped and shouted. "I wouldn't mind losing my life for democracy," said Bhagawan Bhandari, 44. He had been injured by King Gyanendra's baton-wielding police force at a protest on Friday.
The State Department issued a statement saying that the king "should now hand power over to the parties and assume a ceremonial role in his country's governance," Reuters reported. The king's announcement came hours after the State Department had ordered all nonessential embassy staff and family members to leave the country.

Tilak P. Pokharel contributed reporting for this article.

April 24

.Full text of the royal proclamation
House of Representatives reinstated
KATHMANDU, April 24 - Beloved Countrymen,
Convinced that the source of State Authority and Sovereignty of the Kingdom of Nepal is inherent in the people of Nepal and cognizant of the spirit of the ongoing people's movement as well as to resolve the on-going violent conflict and other problems facing the country according to the road map of the agitating Seven Party Alliance, we, through this Proclamation, reinstate the House of Representatives which was dissolved on 22 May 2002 on the advice of the then Prime Minister in accordance with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990. We call upon the Seven Party Alliance to bear the responsibility of taking the nation on the path to national unity and prosperity, while ensuring permanent peace and safeguarding multiparty democracy. We also summon the session of the reinstated House of Representatives at the Sansad Bhawan, Singha Durbar at 1 P.M. on Friday, 28 April 2006.
We are confident that this House will contribute to the overall welfare of Nepal and the Nepalese people.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost their lives in the people's movement and wish the injured speedy recovery. We are confident that the nation will forge ahead towards sustainable peace, progress, full-fledged democracy and national unity.
May Lord Pashupatinath bless us all! Jaya Nepal!

People wins

Nepalis cheer climbdown by king
Nished Gautam

Jubilant Nepalis have taken to the streets in celebration after embattled King Gyanendra agreed to their demands to reinstate parliament.
"This is the people's victory! Long live democracy!" hundreds chanted in parts of the capital Kathmandu.
Opposition leaders say a huge anti-monarchy protest planned for Tuesday will now be a victory rally.
The king's announcement follows weeks of unrest by opponents to his absolute rule. At least 14 people have died.
A tired and tense-looking King Gyanendra announced the move in a late-night televised address, saying it was aimed at "protecting multi-party democracy and restoring peace".

He said the lower house of parliament would reconvene on Friday.
The US welcomed his announcement and said he should now consider assuming a "ceremonial role" in the country's governance.
On Monday, thousands of demonstrators defied a shoot-on-sight curfew in Kathmandu.
But the mood turned to one of celebration after the king's address at 2330 local time (around 1800GMT).
Hundreds streamed into the streets of Kathmandu and other towns, chanting, clapping and singing.
"The people from every corner are pleased to come and celebrate," bank employee Prakash Nepal, 40, told the Associated Press.
The opposition alliance is due to meet to discuss the next step in resolving the country's crisis, opposition leader Shobhakar Parajuli told the BBC.
He said the mass rallies planned for Tuesday would go ahead, but would be a victory celebration and no longer a protest rally.

In his address, the king expressed his "heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost their lives in the people's movement and wish the injured speedy recovery".
He added: "We are confident that the nation will forge ahead towards sustainable peace, progress, full-fledged democracy and national unity."
The protests and a crippling strike led the United States to order all its non-essential diplomatic staff and their families to leave Nepal.
More than 13,000 people have died in the 10-year Maoist insurgency aimed at replacing the monarchy with a communist republic.
The king assumed direct powers in February 2005 saying parties were unable to deal with Maoist rebels.
Violence has escalated since the rebels ended a truce in January - although they declared a ceasefire in Kathmandu this month as street protests began against King Gyanendra.
A series of curfews have been in force in the city in recent days, but ignored by demonstrators.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Embattled King of Nepal Offers Gesture to Protesters

Manish Swarup/Associated Press

Police officers used clubs to break up an antimonarchy demonstration Friday in Katmandu. King Gyanendra said later that he would turn over power to a prime minister chosen by the political parties, but his statement seemed to bring little relief in the national crisis.

Published: April 22, 2006
KATMANDU, Nepal, April 21 — Nepal's embattled King Gyanendra said Friday evening that he would turn over the reins of government to a prime minister chosen by the country's principal political parties, but his gesture brought little relief to a nation on the verge of paralysis.
Skip to next paragraph
Tomas van Houtryve for The New York Times
A photograph of King Gyanendra landed in a ditch Friday with other items tossed there by demonstrators in Katmandu, the Nepalese capital.
"Executive power of the Kingdom of Nepal, which was in our safekeeping, shall, from this day, be returned to the people," the king said, in a long-awaited, surprisingly short address on state-owned television.
Earlier Friday, more than 100,000 demonstrators flooded the heavily fortified main road in Katmandu, the capital, in defiance of a daylong shoot-on-sight curfew, gathering in the largest pro-democracy protests to date. By late evening, there was no official reaction from the country's political leaders, who were huddled in meetings and were to render their verdict on Saturday.
In a statement that said nothing about the king's address, the seven-party alliance that has led the demonstrators vowed to intensify the protests.
"The movement will continue like this until further notice," it read. "We call upon people from all walks of life to take to the streets and bring everything in the capital and all across the country to a complete halt."
The mood on the streets, swept by 16 days of often violent confrontations between pro-democracy protesters and the security forces, remained uneasy. At least 12 people have been killed by police officers and soldiers in the demonstrations, hundreds have been injured and several thousand arrested.
"There's nothing for those who were killed in these protests," Raj Narayan Thakur, 26, said of the king's speech, as bonfires burned on a street in a western suburb, Chabahil, and protesters milled around in the pitch dark.
"It doesn't work," said Bishwokiran Shakya, 46, with a brisk wave of his hand. "No good."
It remained unclear this evening whether the leaders of the seven-party alliance would seize the king's offer and, if they did, whether they could sell it to either the Nepalese people who have poured into the streets or the Maoist rebels with whom they have linked arms in a effort to wrest power from the palace.
In an accord signed last fall, the politicians agreed to the central Maoist demand for a referendum on the Constitution; in exchange, the Maoists agreed, among other things, to play by the rules of parliamentary democracy.
The king, who took over the government 14 months ago in what he said was an effort to defeat a Maoist rebellion, agreed to give up control of the state. But he did not address the two principal demands of the politicians and their foot soldiers on the street: restoration of the elected Parliament, suspended in May 2002, and a referendum to review the Constitution and decide whether Nepal still needs a king.
Calls for an end to monarchy, which is enshrined in the Nepalese Constitution, have grown louder and more brazen in the past weeks. The king's speech made it plain that he was in favor of maintaining the status quo: a multiparty democracy with a constitutional monarchy.
He spoke hours after Katmandu was engulfed in the largest protests to date, as several large neighborhood rallies converged on the sealed Ring Road that circles the city center. They shouted gleefully for the king's head, burned effigies and, at one point, toppled a small tin-roofed police post and set it alight, as a gantlet of police officers in riot gear, backed by soldiers, watched.
Apparently anticipating further discontent, the government extended the curfew on Friday evening until midnight.
There was no question that after two weeks of angry protests and a heavy-handed state crackdown, it will be harder for those clamoring for an end to Gyanendra's rule and the establishment of a democratic republic to accept any political deal that maintains the monarchy.
Favorable nods for the king came from abroad. Nepal's neighbor and most vital ally, India, swiftly endorsed the king's offer, saying in a statement that the king's words "should now pave the way for the restoration of political stability and economic recovery of the country."

Why the world is watching Nepal
By Paul Reynolds World Affairs correspondent, BBC News website

Tourists hoping to visit a mountain Shangri-La have been surprisedWhile it would be an exaggeration to say that Nepal occupies a strategic position in the world - isolated as it is in the Himalayas - its future is being watched closely.
Partly this is for sentimental reasons. The kingdom used to be the destination of choice for thousands of Western hippies who thought of it as a mountain Shangri-la.
The one-time guru of the Beatles, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, had connections in Nepal and once broadcast his vision of saving the world by "Transcendental Meditation" on Nepali television.
So there is a great interest in the West to see how that quiet and peaceful place (perhaps not so quiet underneath) has developed into the scene of civil war, repression, riot and uprising.
It is the government of India that is the most concerned. India itself has considerable problems with Maoist rebels
The Yogi's message does not seem to have worked. But then the 1960s and their message of flower power are a long time ago. The world has moved on in more violent ways, and Nepal is a part of that movement.
Then there is the Everest trek that keeps Nepal in a wider public eye. Currently teams of climbers are preparing for their attempts on the summit during the calm period between now and the end of May. They have largely escaped the recent troubles, although two climbers were injured last November when Maoist rebels attacked their vehicle on its way to base camp.
And there is the added factor in Britain because Nepal is home to the Ghurka fighters who serve in the British army.


We salute people of Nepal: US
Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, April 21 - The Unites States on Friday saluted the courage and resilience of the people of Nepal in their struggle for democracy and expressed the hope that King Gyanendra, who announced handing power back to people in his address today, would live up to his words.
“We are pleased that King Gyanendra’s message today made it clear that that sovereignty resides with the people,” said Sean McCormack, spokesman of the US Department of State. “We expect the king to live up to his words, and allow the parties to form the government.”
McCormack also urged the political parties – the seven-party alliance – to respond quickly by choosing a prime minister and a cabinet. “We urge all sides to refrain from violence to allow the restoration of democracy to take place swiftly and peacefully.”

The king has taken bold step: Karan Singh

Minutes after the nationally-televised address, India's Special Envoy Dr Karan Singh has welcomed the king's offer, saying the king has taken a bold step.
"I think it is the right thing to do to difuse the situation," he told the Post, adding, "Now the political parties have the shoulder the responsibility and take the process forward. The sooner that can happen the better, it will be."
The government of India is expected to make a statement along the same lines soon.


Full text: Nepal king's speech

The text of Nepal's King Gyanendra address to the nation, broadcast by Radio Nepal, in which announced handing over political power to the people and asked a seven-party alliance to choose a new prime minister.

Beloved Countrymen,
You are all aware that given the situation prevailing in the country then, we were compelled to take the decision of 1 February 2005 to set in motion a meaningful exercise in multiparty democracy by activating all elected bodies, ensuring peace and security and a corruption-free good government through the collective wisdom, understanding and the united efforts of all the Nepalese.

By supporting our decision, the Nepalese people made amply clear their desire for peace and democracy and the civil servants demonstrated sincerity towards their duty. We are appreciative of this. We also have high regard for the dutifulness, valour and discipline displayed by the security personnel by upholding their glorious tradition.

By visiting different parts of the country we made honest endeavours to acquaint ourselves with the hopes and aspirations of our people, mitigate their hardships and boost their morale. We also called on the political parties to enter into a dialogue in the interest of the nation and the people afflicted by violence and terror. However, this did not materialise.
The ideals of democracy can only be realised through the active participation of political parties.
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.

As the source of sovereign authority is inherent in the people, harmony and understanding must be preserved in the interest of the nation and people in an environment of peace and security.
While safeguarding multiparty democracy, the nation must be taken ahead along the road to peace and prosperity by bringing into the democratic mainstream those who have deviated from the constitutional path. Similarly, a meaningful exercise in democracy must be ensured with the activation of representative bodies through elections as soon as possible.
We therefore call on the seven-party alliance to recommend a name for the post of the prime minister at the earliest for the constitution of a council of ministers which will bear the responsibility of governing the country in accordance with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990. The present Council of Ministers will continue to function until the appointment of the prime minister.

May Lord Pashupatinath bless us all.
Jai Nepal

Friday, April 21, 2006

Gathering anger against Nepal's king

By Sanjoy Majumder BBC News, Kathmandu

Hundreds of people joined a protest in Kirtipur, Kathmandu
"I hope you've brought peace to our troubled land."
The immigration officer at Kathmandu 's Tribhuvan international airport looked up as he stamped my passport, resplendent in his blue uniform.
"We need democracy, total democracy not partial," he said.
"Make sure you put that in your report. Without democracy we cannot develop as a nation. Enough is enough."
For the past few days, the tide appears to have turned against King Gyanendra.
What started out as a political protest by a seven-party alliance, and then translated into a show of people power as Nepalis stormed the streets across the country, has finally crossed another frontier.
Professionals, lawyers and now bureaucrats - including from the all-powerful home ministry - have joined the struggle, some in spirit and others more substantially.
Public sentiment
The one institution above all others that has remained loyal to the king has been the Royal Nepalese Army.
But as flak-jacketed soldiers patrol the corner of every street in the Nepalese capital, they are acutely aware of the public mood.
"The public sentiment here is far too strong," says one local journalist.
"The protests have spread far wider and appear to be much more intense than those of 1990," he added, careful to remain unnamed, with the administration particularly severe against the media.
The king... is so removed from reality that he has to step aside
Lakshmi, protester
That was the year when the former monarch, King Birendra, was forced to usher in multi-party democracy in the wake of public protests.
The mood against his brother, who ascended the throne after King Birendra's brutal murder in the 2001 palace massacre, is equally strong.
On the eve of a planned mass protest in the capital, political rallies took place in pockets around Kathmandu.
In the suburb of Kirtipur, more than 1,000 people gathered at the main market square as speaker after speaker railed against the king.
"This is a criminal regime," shouted one speaker, representing local traders.
"The king must go - he must go now."
"He must go - he must go now," chanted the crowd, cheering and clapping.
Single issue
Narayan Rathod Singh is a local member of the mainstream Nepali Congress Party.
He says things have moved beyond party politics.
"It is no longer important which party you belong to or what you believe in," he says.
The king is not somebody with our interests at heart
Pawan, protester
"There is only one issue before us - restore democracy.
"There is not a single person here who does not support that," he said waving his hand at the crowd.
"I grew up believing in the king and what the monarchy represents," says Lakshmi, who was attending the rally with her children.
"But the king has let us down. He is so removed from reality that he has to step aside.
"I don't think they should grow up in a Nepal which is an absolute monarchy," she says looking down at her little son and daughter.
Ravi Thapa and his friend, Pawan, are students.
He admits that joining the protests at first was fun - daring even - but that he had thought little about the issues at stake.
Now, however, he is clear in his mind.
"When the shootings started and the beatings I knew that this was serious.
"I also realised that the king is not somebody with our interests at heart. If he did, he wouldn't have filled the jails with ordinary people.
"He wouldn't have ordered his army to open fire on innocent civilians.
"He is not an aristocrat - he's an autocrat."
A few hundred metres away from the Kirtipur rally, smoke rises from a still smouldering burnt tyre.
Children run past it shouting, unmindful of what it represents.
But for King Gyanendra, safely ensconced behind the high walls of Kathmandu's Narayanhiti Palace, it is a sign that the public mood could quite easily turn ugly.

Time's run out

The Kathmandu Post

The rulers and elite have always ditched the Nepali people. The dark history dates back to 1768, when a smart warrior king unified the country with the help of the poor people, but his successors never recognized their rights and sovereignty. The oppressed denizens, who woke up to fight for their rights in 1950, successfully toppled the Rana oligarchy. Unfortunately, the 1950 agreement brought the monarchy to the fore. Consequently, the successive monarchs played the "cat-and-mouse" game with people's representatives to deny their rights. In December 1960, King Mahendra ousted the elected government and established the autocratic Panchayati that lasted for 30 years. In 1990, the late King Birendra showed certain farsightedness and bowed down before the people. However, the elite and monarchists immediately started hatching conspiracy against the restored democracy. In order to show one-upmanship to his slain brother, King Gyanendra usurped all state authority by staging a coup on Feb 1, 2005. But in just over a year, the king's move has culminated in a deep political crisis.
The Nepali people of 21st century have become so infuriated with the king that many wonder whether he will manage to save his crown. If the monarch dilays further to address the problem, the country will not remain a kingdom. For the king the time has run out. More than 12 people have already lost their lives since the people's movement waged by the seven party alliance began on April 6. On the fifteenth day alone, the security forces shot dead three protestors in the capital and critically injured dozens of demonstrators. No ruler can get away by killing innocent people. King Gyanendra will certainly be held accountable for the deaths and injuries of so many people. If the chairman-cum-king continues to play with the fire and refuses to bow down before the people, he is waiting for a political disaster.
Reportedly, the king is trying to seek a solution by appointing a middleman like former Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai as the prime minister. But the movement has reached a new level of intensity where neither an individual nor any political party can rescue the monarch out of the current political imbroglio. We believe the king has gone to the extent of no return. Even if he restores people's sovereignty as per people's wishes, he may not be able to protect the 237-year old institution. The country is in flame. It has witnessed a dozen of deaths. Who is responsible for these deaths? The people know it well. If such peaceful demonstrations continue to see more deaths, the people would not accept any peaceful settlement. Let us hope Indian and other foreign envoys have transpired the message to the king.

Nepal braced for fresh protests

The protesters are demanding an end to absolute rule
The government of Nepal has imposed a new shoot-to-kill curfew in Kathmandu, in the wake of escalating violence between police and protesters.
The curfew, which will remain in force throughout Friday, coincides with a planned rally called by the opposition.
Police on Thursday opened fire on demonstrators who defied the curfew, killing three and wounding many more.
The protesters, who have staged mass strikes for the past two weeks, want the king to give up direct rule.
King Gyanendra sacked the government and assumed direct powers in February 2005, saying this was necessary to quell the long-running insurgency by Maoist rebels.
'Indiscriminate fire'
The opposition alliance has called for its supporters to demonstrate on Kathmandu's ring road on Friday.
Protesters burnt tyres on some city streets and on the outskirts ahead of the curfew, and opposition parties pledged to defy the curfew for the second day.
"So many people have come out on the street despite the curfew and crackdown. It is an indication that our movement has succeeded. We will continue this until the result comes in favour of the people," Nepali Congress leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula told Reuters.

The curfew began at 0900 (0315 GMT) and is not due to be lifted until 2000 (1415 GMT).
Government workers were asked to be in their workplaces before it took effect.
Police opened fire on Thursday as tens of thousands people tried to defy the daytime curfew.
Demonstrations against King Gyanendra's absolute rule or against the monarchy altogether had been going on for two weeks and the day was promised as the culmination.
Huge groups of anti-royal protestors, totalling perhaps 100,000, approached the capital from all directions, in each case coming up against barrages of security forces guarding the curfew zone.
On the north-east side of the city, the demonstration took place in a carnival atmosphere, the BBC's Charles Haviland reports from Kathmandu.
But at the western suburb of Kalanki, things turned violent when tens of thousands descended to the road from the hills.
HAVE YOUR SAY The king should understand he will never anymore be able to continue his regime. It is only a matter of time when he will fall down Sudeep Kafle, Kathmandu Send us your comments
Eyewitnesses said the police had opened fire indiscriminately and that in addition to those who died, many had been seriously injured.
Another person died on Friday in the town Gulariya, some 500km (300 miles) south-west of Kathmandu, after being injured in protests a day earlier, reports say.
At least 14 demonstrators have now died around the country in two weeks of protests.
A special envoy from India, Karan Singh, has held talks with King Gyanendra.
Indian diplomatic sources said he had conveyed Delhi's view that the monarch should urgently restore multi-party democracy.
Later, Mr Singh said he hoped the King would soon make an announcement to defuse the situation in Nepal.
"Certainly the situation has spun virtually if not out of control at least it is spinning out of control. Therefore some drastic and urgent steps are needed, and that was really my message to him," he said.

Deep meditation for peace of Nepal

India's key role in Nepal affairs

By Rabindra Mishra
BBC Nepali service

Recent clandestine meetings in India between leading Nepalese politicians and Maoist leaders have once again highlighted the crucial role India continues to play in Nepal's internal affairs.
Nepalese leaders have denied any face-to-face meeting with rebel leaders in India, let alone in a government guest house where talks are believed to have taken place.
For its part, India denies knowledge of any Maoist leaders on its soil and has declared them "terrorists". But it has been a long established fact that some top Maoist leaders do reside in India.
Since the 1 February royal coup, Nepalese leaders have regularly visited Delhi, but last week saw an unprecedented jamboree in the Indian capital.
Delhi 'check-ups'
What surprised many was the sudden visit of a leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (UML), Madhav Kumar Nepal, to Delhi.
Mr Nepal's visit took place less than a week after he had returned from an extended three-week tour of India, during which he met several Indian leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
As soon as he returned home, he had a series of meetings in Kathmandu with British Ambassador Keith Bloomfield, American ambassador James Moriarty and Indian Ambassador Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, as efforts to find a solution to Nepal's political impasse continued.
Mr Nepal then headed off to Delhi again after the meetings. Mr Moriarty, who has remained active in co-ordinating a uniform international approach towards Nepal, was already there.
Mr Nepal insisted he had gone for a "heart check-up", while Mr Moriarty said his was a regular visit for consultations with Indian officials.
Meanwhile, Nepali Congress president and former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala was in Delhi too, also for a "health check-up".
And a leader of a smaller partner in Nepal's seven-party opposition alliance had gone there for his "son's health check-up". There were other leaders too.
Crucial time
What baffles many is the role Delhi is suspected to have played in all these movements.
Last week, the Indian foreign ministry denied any information about the latest meetings.
However, it is difficult to believe that the movement of top Nepali leaders in the heart of Delhi and meetings with rebel leaders declared terrorists at a politically crucial time could have gone unnoticed by the Indian authorities or intelligence officials.
General Ashok Mehta, a leading Indian security expert, believes that Indian intelligence established links with the Nepalese Maoists at least two years ago.
Speaking to the BBC, he once said "in circumstances as that of the Maoists, government strategy is implemented through intelligence agencies and not the official channels".
However, Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran tries to avoid any direct reference to an alleged link between the Indian establishment and the rebels.
He said the Indian government was engaged in dialogue with all key political actors of Nepal, but did not mention the Maoists by name.
India was the first country to call the Maoists "terrorists" in September 2001, even before Nepal did so. At that time the Nepalese government was engaged in peace talks with the rebels.
Ironically, leading Maoist negotiator Krishna Bahadur Mahara travelled to Kathmandu from Delhi to participate in peace talks in November that year.


India's role has been crucial in every major political change and the sustenance of such changes that Nepal has witnessed since the late 1940s.
After late King Mahendra sacked the elected government and took control of state power in 1960, the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, made his displeasure public.
However, within six months, his government had signed four aid agreements with Nepal and normal friendship resumed.
Many believe that the self-serving change in Indian attitude helped the continuation of the monarchy's rule for 30 years.
Similarly, many believe India played a crucial role in the collapse of the royal regime in 1990.
Supporters of the current king have been trying to portray Delhi-rushing leaders as "anti-nationalist".
However, it is very common for Nepalese political actors to maintain silence if the involvement of India helps them - and curse it if it does not.
The latest Delhi saga is only likely to strengthen the belief of many Nepalese that Kathmandu remains a hostage of Indian national interest, which they say, has led India to constantly manipulate the politics of its tiny, land-locked neighbour.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Eyewitness: 'I was shot'

Violent clashes between police and anti-monarchy protesters are continuing across Nepal as thousands of people defy a curfew imposed by the royal government.

The BBC News website spoke to one man, Milan Lamsal, in the resort town of Pokhara who was shot and wounded by security forces at the weekend.

After seeing a big crowd of demonstrators in the main street on 8 April, I could not stay indoors.
Within a matter of seconds, the wound had become excruciatingly painful Nepalis describe chaos I have been a supporter of the pro-democracy movement and the slogans protesters chanted outside were something I could not ignore.
Despite my wife's reservations, I went out and joined the protest rally that was heading towards Mahendra Pul to the north of Pokhara.
There were thousands of protesters and all looked quite energetic and determined for democracy. That injected the spirit of a true democratic demonstrator in me.
But even when every one was marching ahead with that sense of confidence, I think many had this sneaking feeling that sooner or later we would confront security personnel.
On the contrary, we saw a group of security personnel being chased by another group of demonstrators. Soon, many demonstrators in our group started pelting stones at the fleeing security personnel.
'Piece of bullet'
Suddenly, I saw someone falling down (later on I found it was Bhimsen Dahal who had died on the way to hospital).
Crowds have been fired on a number of times in Pokhara
I was not sure what was going on. Then, someone said the police had opened fire. I thought I should run.
Just when I had begun to do so, I felt something like a needle-prick in the tricep of my right arm.
There was something that had pierced through my shirt and the t-shirt I was wearing.
Within a matter of seconds, the wound had become excruciatingly painful. I did not realise that I had fallen down. I started crying for help.
Fortunately two fellow protesters carried me to a nearby hospital. The doctors took out a piece of lead from my arm and said that it was a piece of bullet.
I am surprised that the bullet could pierce though my arm but not make any hole in my shirt and t-shirt.
I am under medication now and I feel much better except for an occasional pain. The incident has made me more fearless, that is why I have been participating in protest rallies almost every day, even if that means defying curfew orders.
I think the country is demanding change - the monarchy will have to make compromises
I feel sad to remember now that the person whom I had seen falling before another bullet hit me was Bhimsen Dahal.
We knew each other although we were not so close. He was hardly 15 metres away from me when the bullet hit him and he fell down. I could not hear him because everyone was shouting and fleeing the scene.
Opening fire on the demonstrators was totally unnecessary.
True, some protesters had thrown stones at security personnel. But they could have tackled the situation in different ways, for example with baton charges or by firing blanks.
The more such brutal actions take place, the more protesters become determined.
I believe this movement should end up with a proper conclusion. I think the country is demanding change - the monarchy will have to make compromises.

The Newyork Times

Nepal Chaos Gets Worse, as India Tries to Strike Deal

Published: April 21, 2006
KATMANDU,/April 20 — The royal government struggled to dam a tide of pro-democracy protest on Thursday. But it broke through anyway, carnival-like in some places and violent in others, as emissaries from Nepal's most vital ally, India, met with King Gyanendra in an effort to defuse a hardening political impasse.
Shehab Uddin/Associated Press
Police officers yesterday charged protesters in Katmandu who defied a curfew to demand that Nepal's king give up the total control of the government that he assumed last year and restore democracy to the country.
A four-hour television series and interactive web site by The Times, The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the ZDF network of Germany.
The demonstrations, which the government tried to head off with a strict 18-hour curfew, brought tens of thousands of people to rallies big and small on the edges of the heavily fortified city center in the largest turnout in two weeks of protests.
The deadliest event came at midday in the Kalanki neighborhood, where security forces fired on demonstrators, killing three people and wounding as many as 100, according to officials at two city hospitals where the wounded were treated. Two of the dead appeared to have been shot in the head, a hospital official said.
The clash came on the 15th day of protests called by a coalition of Nepal's seven largest political parties, demanding a restoration of parliamentary rule. As violent protests roil the country, the king has reiterated his call for dialogue with the political parties. The parties, meanwhile, vow to continue the agitation until he restores Parliament, which he suspended early last year, and gives up control of the government.
"We are people of the 21st century," shouted Prakash Muni Dahal, 60, a teacher who joined the throngs on the streets. "We will rule our country." Around him a boisterous crowd, in a brick-strewn eastern neighborhood known as Chabahil, burned the king's picture and brayed for his fall. "Gyaney!" they shouted, using the diminutive form of his name, once unthinkable here in the world's last Hindu kingdom. "Hang him!"
After a meeting with the king on Thursday morning, Karan Singh, the son of a former Indian maharaja and related by marriage to Nepal's royal family, hinted a deal was imminent. "Now the ball is squarely in the court of the king," Mr. Singh, a special envoy sent by the Indian government, said on his return to New Delhi, according to Reuters. "I am hopeful that very shortly some sort of announcement will be made by him, which will help considerably defuse the situation."
Representatives of the United Nations > Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Katmandu said they had been blocked from routine monitoring of demonstrations. The office denounced the restrictions as a "clear violation" of its agreement with the government.
Neither foreign diplomats nor the International Committee of the Red Cross could move freely in the streets. By evening the government announced that it would extend the 18-hour curfew by seven hours.
Nepal has had a fitful experiment with democracy since parliamentary elections in 1990. In 2002, with a Maoist insurgency in the hills and politicians squabbling, the elected prime minister dissolved Parliament, and scheduled elections were postponed. Several prime ministers were appointed and fired by the king. The last of them was deposed in February 2005, when Gyanendra assumed total control of the government and promised to finish off the insurgency. An estimated 13,000 Nepalese have been killed in the conflict.
In a deft political twist, the Maoists and the political parties have lately linked arms in an effort to overturn the king's control of the government. The protests have hampered ordinary life in the capital. Fuel is in short supply, vegetable prices have soared and the movement of trucks carrying goods into Katmandu has been frozen for two weeks. Thursday began with an eerie calm as the daylong curfew left shops closed, people inside their homes and police officers and soldiers guarding the roads.
Around midday, as the protests began, security forces aimed their assault rifles and fired above the heads of the protesters in the Kalanki district. Then, in circumstances that remain unclear, they killed a protester on a rooftop. A Nepalese journalist who saw the incident said a police superintendent had aimed his pistol at protesters and begun firing, killing the man on the roof.
As the body was taken away in a minivan serving as an ambulance, people in the crowd vented their grief at the police, yelling, crying and then, from the rooftops, throwing bricks, unleashing swift retaliation. The police picked up the bricks and hurled them at the crowd. They fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets. The clash continued for hours. The Nepal Red Cross Society said it tended to 293 injured people across Katmandu on Thursday.
Tilak P. Pokharel and Tomas van Houtryve contributed reporting for this article.

Concern of Nepal over the world

Times of India :
KATHMANDU: Stepping up their offensive against King Gyanendra, leaders of the seven-party alliance on Friday said "token" moves by the monarch would not serve any purpose and pressed their demand for handing over sovereign power to the people.

A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy Karan Singh expressed the hope that Nepal King Gyanendra would make an "announcement" that would help defuse the crisis, Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudyal said "given the way the movement has snowballed both in agenda and dimension, there is no way we can make do with token steps. Election to the Constituent Assembly is a must."

Nepali Congress Democratic leader Minendra Rijal said "aspirations of the people are least likely to be addressed until and unless the future of monarchy is put to ballot. Election to a Constituent Assembly is the bottom-line."

Meanwhile, people rushed out to buy provisions as curfew clamped for over a day was lifted for six hours on Friday morning. A Home Ministry announcement said curfew has been extended from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Normal life has been disrupted in the capital, which is facing acute shortage of fuel and food supplies.

The envoy on Thursday had a two-hour meeting with the monarch and handed over a letter from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He emphasised that a lasting solution to the problems of Nepal has to be found by the people of the country through a "peaceful political process."

During his visit to the country, Singh also met with former Nepalese Prime Ministers Surya Bahadur Thapa, Girija Prasad Koirala and Sher Bahadur Deuba and Rashtriya Prajatantra Party President Pashupati Rana.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Young Nepalese Lead Their Nation's Push for Democracy


Published: April 14, 2006

KATMANDU, Nepal, April 13 — The Nepalese New Year dawns on Friday, with Nepal's young lashing furiously at the past.

Tomas van Houtryve for The New York Times
Protesters gathered on the outskirts of Katmandu, Nepal, to rally against King Gyanendra's absolute rule, which began in 2005.
Tomas van Houtryve for The New York Times
A vast majority of those demonstrating for democracy in cities all over Nepal are adults who came of age after 1990, when democratic rule was first introduced there.
"We will not ask the king to leave the throne — we will go and take the throne and put it on display," Gagan Thapa, 29, the political symbol of young Nepal, told a crowd of thousands on the outskirts of this capital on Thursday. The vast majority, dressed in baseball caps and jeans and looking well below the age of 30, roared in approval.
A brassy antimonarchy call-and-response echoed through the warren of terraced lanes.
"We will burn the crown," Mr. Thapa shouted.
"Burn the crown, burn the crown," the crowd hollered back.
The irrepressible protests that have gripped Nepal in the last several days, demanding the end of palace rule and the reinstatement of Parliament, are a function of demography and its discontent.
Young Nepal has been at the forefront of this week's rambunctious, often violent pro-democracy protests, which have left four people dead. Whether Nepal descends into further tumult or sees the dawning of a new political age in the Nepalese calendar year of 2063 will depend on whether the protesters can be appeased.
With his country's crisis mounting by the day, King Gyanendra seemed to make the slightest of nods in that direction. In a brief statement read on state-owned television shortly before midnight, he called for general elections "with the active participation of all political parties committed to peace and democracy."
But the king said nothing about when elections would be held or, more important, whether he would concede to elections to review the Constitution, something the country's coalition of political parties and the Maoist rebels insist on.
Whether the gesture restores peace in the Himalayan kingdom will depend on the reaction on Friday from the uncompromising throngs of young people who today represent his most formidable foe.
Nearly 60 percent of Nepal's 23 million citizens are under 24. They came of age after democracy came to Nepal in April 1990, and they have tasted the fruits and failures of electoral politics. They have seen a Maoist rebellion put much of the countryside through the wringer.
In February 2005, they saw their king suspend Parliament and install prime ministers of his own choosing in a bid, as he said, to defeat a bruising Maoist insurgency. For 14 months, they have lived under the king's direct rule.
Last week, he banned protests here in the capital and for six days imposed a daytime curfew.
That order has not stopped young people from defiantly pouring out into the streets. They have been taking the lion's share of police beatings. On just one day this week, of the 59 people admitted to Katmandu's main teaching hospital for treatment of their injuries, only 13 were over the age of 30.
Consider the verdict of Shashi Sigdel, a 22-year-old medical student on the shift in attitudes toward the king.
"My grandfather used to think he is a god," Mr. Sigdel said. "My parents used to think he stands between God and the devil. Me, I think he's the devil. That's the generation gap."
On Thursday, the government restored cellphone service, suspended for nearly a week, and lifted the curfew in the capital. The ban on protests in Katmandu and several other cities continued — as did the protests.
The Royal Nepalese Army has been dispatched to some of the demonstrations. But so far, it has largely refrained from open confrontation with the demonstrators. Of the four people killed in the demonstrations, at least two died by army fire.
A protest by the Nepal Bar Association on Thursday morning ended with the police beating of dozens of demonstrators; nearly 50 landed in the hospital, including two whose heads had been grazed by rubber bullets.
In a statement on Thursday, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights hinted that the use of excessive force by police officers could jeopardize Nepal's participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions, a good source of income for the country.
"One would expect them to be respectful of United Nations standards in their conduct at home," Ian Martin, the High Commissioner's representative in Nepal, said in an interview Thursday night.
The New York Times


Democracy at the Top of the World
Published: April 14, 2006

The remote mountain kingdom of Nepal has become convulsed by violent confrontations between police and protesters. The crisis does not involve strategic resources or Islamic terrorists. But there are good reasons why the outside world should pay attention.First, there is a potential for friction between the two giants bordering on Nepal, India and China, if they feel the little country shifting one way or the other. Then there is the fact that the world does not need another failed state, especially one with a powerful Maoist militia and a terrain that would ideally suit warlords and terrorists. Finally, the Nepalese are fighting for democracy, and it would be good for developed democracies to show a willingness to help even if there is no immediate or tangible gain.In 1996, radical leftists began a brutal insurgency, in which more than 12,000 people were killed. In 2001, the heir to the throne went berserk and killed himself and most of his family. The crown passed to his uncle, Gyanendra, who used the Maoist insurgency as a pretext to assume absolute powers. Last month opposition parties called for a series of strikes in support of demands for a restoration of democracy, and they have swelled into a wave of public protests.The Maoist insurgency is clearly a serious blight. But King Gyanendra has brought this on himself. The United States and Europe should urge him to step back into a constitutional role, and promise to help a democratic Nepal emerge from the crushing poverty that sustains the insurgents.

Times of India National Daily

Published: April 14, 2006

Gyanendra, Nepal's monarch who imposed absolute rule on his country 14 months ago, is getting isolated both domestically and internationally, and his options are fast running out.
An opposition strike shut down Kathmandu for four days, and casualties from police firing on protestors are mounting. Gyanendra tried to reverse historical processes by rolling back the constitutional monarchy that came about after the success of the pro-democracy movement in 1990.
But people, having tasted democratic rights, don't give up on them so easily, and even Gyanendra had to dress his assumption of all powers in the garb of restoring democracy in three years.
The problem is he made no credible steps towards this, while repression of political parties and civil society groups mounted. Now businessmen, lawyers and professionals too have joined the movement against him.
By subverting the compact between crown and people Gyanendra may have endangered the monarchy itself. Gyanendra's fate has been sealed by the understanding arrived at between the seven-party alliance - which has inherited the mantle of the democracy movement - and the Maoists, and a Nepali republic looks conceivable now.
It is just as well, therefore, that New Delhi has dropped its "twin pillars" approach towards Nepal, whereby both the monarchy and political parties were thought to be necessary for Nepal's stability.
The rationale for supporting Gyanendra was that without his steadying hand Nepal might fall to the Maoists; but New Delhi is beginning to recognise that Gyanendra himself may be pushing people into the arms of Maoists, and therefore a factor for instability.
Another rationale may have been to prevent Beijing or Islamabad from filling the vacuum in Nepal if New Delhi pulled out. But Beijing recognises a loser when it sees one, and Islamabad, which has its own insurgencies to deal with, would merely embarrass itself if it stepped in to shore up Gyanendra.
New Delhi has done the right thing by condemning repressive measures resorted to by Nepal's government. It has acted in concert with Washington, which said Gyanendra's takeover "has failed in every regard".
Luckily, the Left too is aboard on this one. New Delhi could follow up its initiative, and gain credit for itself in the region, if it stood four-square behind the democratic movement in Nepal and peaceful negotiations regarding the country's future.
Maoists too should be welcome to participate in negotiations, as long as they play by the rules of the democratic game.

Happy New Year

I would like to wish a very Happy New year 20063 to all my readers and my friends.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Prachanda interview: Full transcript
Read the full transcript of Nepali Maoist leader Prachanda's exclusive interview with the BBC's Charles Haviland.

Chairman Prachanda

- your war is 10 years old now. The economy is in ruins. Tourism is way down. Rural poor have fled their homes and live in terror. And 13,000 people are dead. It's been a disaster hasn't it?

We've certainly never said it was good.

When we started a people's revolution, we tried to advance the Nepali people's needs and the society's needs in a peaceful way.

This movement is to grant democratic rights to Nepalis: Prachanda
Everyone knows when we were in parliament, following its processes, we put forward 40 demands so that the problems of Nepalis would be solved in a peaceful way.

But, when the ruling classes and the feudalists were not ready to solve the problems of Nepalis peacefully, and instead started victimising our party workers and people who supported us in a brutal and illegitimate fashion, they compelled us and the Nepali people to take up arms.

That doesn't mean we are happy about 13,000 people being killed. For sure, we are saddened by it.

But the responsibility doesn't lie with us. It lies with a small clique of privileged class who want to keep Nepal as a medieval feudal state. That is our belief, and that, I think, is the truth.

Let's talk about the "feudals and aristocrats". You say that they are your biggest enemies. Fine, they are sitting safe, mainly in Kathmandu and the other cities. But people who suffered are the poor people in the rural areas. Isn't that true?

It is not true. In history, wherever there has been a revolutionary movement, when people's movement moves forward - in the process of revolution, a clique of feudal elements will be staying within the fortification of the army. They will stay in there until their end comes but in the end, revolution will, as seen by history, destroy the feudal elements and in the end, these elements will have to come to the people's court and be tried.

We believe that in the near future, these elements will be in the people's court and will be tried by the people. When the revolution begins, they will be staying within the army barracks and army protection and so they will not be the ones caught at the beginning.

History has always shown this.

One reason that people including the Americans are scared of you is that they have a nightmare vision - a Maoist takeover, conquering and entering Kathmandu with bloodshed.

Is that your aim - to conquer Kathmandu militarily?

What America is thinking, I think they are thinking wrong.

It is the Americans who have that level of bloodthirstiness. They have been killing and attacking innocent civilians. We are not like that. We certainly want to capture Kathmandu for Nepali people, for democracy and for peace, it is important that the Nepali people have to conquer and we want to go to Kathmandu. It is not like the American vision where there would be a river of blood. We want to conquer Kathmandu with the people's rebellion.

So you think you can conquer Kathmandu militarily?

We are not only talking about militarily. I believe we can, and we have to conquer Kathmandu both militarily and politically. That's why we have not thought about it in a purely military way.

As you know, we have made an agreement with the parliamentary political parties and we want to get to Kathmandu militarily too. This is certain. We are not thinking of this in a purely military fashion and that is why we are talking about democracy and peace, and for this we have made agreements with the political parties. This proves that we do not want to get to Kathmandu in a purely military way but also in a political and military way.

You say politically. Does that mean in fact you don't really expect to be able to conquer the capital militarily?

When we started the people's revolution and when we first attacked the feudal elements' Royal Army, we believed that we could conquer Kathmandu militarily.

But later, when countries like the US, the UK and India started supporting the Royal Army militarily - against our people's war and the revolt of Nepali people - that has posed some difficulties.

That is why we believe that in today's world it's not possible only to move forward militarily.

Today's reality is to move forward both politically and militarily, with a balance of the two.

Only with this balance can we gain something for the people and the people's democracy.

That's why we are organising on both fronts, political and military.

So you're saying that in today's world you don't think it would possible to take the capital city militarily?

It is possible.

But in today's situation it would cause a lot of harm to the Nepali people.

That's why we like the political solution better. And we are working towards it.

You signed an agreement in India last November with the mainstream political parties, the main opposition parties. That agreement talked about you, the Maoists, "moving along a peaceful political stream". Are you preparing for peace?

We are always ready for peace, and when we started the people's war, after a while we said that if the ruling classes would want to peacefully solve the problems of Nepali people, we were ready.

The vision that we see of the future Nepal is to be free of class exploitation

Now, in the agreement with the parties, we are still saying that if there is an environment where people can give their own verdict, through an election of a constituent assembly, where people have a voice on the kind of governance that they want, if that right is with the people, then we are ready to have a political competition with the parties. And this is the truth.

This in fact your main political demand - an elected assembly to draw up a new constitution. If that elected assembly drew up a constitution that kept Nepal as a kingdom, with a king, would you be happy?

We have said that there should be a democratic republic in Nepal. Our struggle is for a democratic republic.

But we have said that people should be harmed to the minimum extent possible. And if the problem is solved in a peaceful and democratic way, we are ready for it, and that's why we have called for a constituent assembly.

We believe that with the election of a constituent assembly, a democratic republic will be formed in Nepal. And this will solve the problems of Nepalis and lead the country into a more progressive path.

And since we have said that we'd go for a peaceful election of the constituent assembly, we're ready to follow whatever the verdict of the people is.

We have stated this over and over again. We'll accept the people's verdict. Whatever decision the people should give, we will be ready to accept this.

Does that mean you would theoretically be able to accept a people's verdict of keeping the monarchy?

Yes, theoretically it is like that. But we believe that people would not give that kind of verdict in the current situation. That is our faith and belief and whatever you can say, we are ready to follow the people's verdict.

That would mean that ideologically if the people want that, we will follow that.

But we believe that the people's version will be for a democratic republic.

Does that mean you could imagine yourself or someone from your party actually serving as prime minister under King Gyanendra?

If such a situation arises, if you ask me personally I am not ready. But personal choice is not the main thing.

The main thing is following what the people's verdict is.

Personally, we might not be ready in situations like this, because we have been fighting for a republic.

But since we have already said that we will agree with the verdict of a constituent assembly, we will surely agree to that.

Now we are talking all about the future. But violence is still escalating in Nepal. When is this peaceful future going to happen?

I believe that the total responsibility for the escalating violence falls on the King and the royal army - on Gyanendra and his royal army. To ensure that the minimum bloodshed is inflicted on Nepali people, we had a four-month-long cease-fire. We have also been saying that we would agree to whatever the verdict is of the constituent assembly. And we have committed to accept multi-party competition. That's why, the way violence is escalating in this country, the total responsibility falls on Gyanendra and his royal army.

The Nepali people understand this and the world has seen those who want peace and democracy clearly. In the near future, this situation is not going to remain. Nepali people are going to triumph and democracy is going to triumph. Gyanendra-ism and his feudalistic clique will certainly be destroyed. He is responsible. We also want to appeal to all everyone in the world who believes in peace and democracy to speak out and stand up against the one who has been shedding blood and killing people every day.

Now you declared a ceasefire for four months. If you were to repeat that but on a permanent basis, laying down your arms tomorrow, this war would stop. Why not do that?

We are fighting for the rights of Nepali people. As long as the royal army interferes with Nepali people's rights, as long as they keep killing Nepali people, I mean, the feudal privileged class, and that too an army loyal to a medieval royalty - are an obstacle to the Nepali people.

It is important that they be dismantled - not us. Nepali people are rebelling for their rights. In us saying that we are ready, we mean, the royal army, who have been oppressing Nepali people for 237 years, and are loyal to a small clique, who have no loyalty to respect for democratic ideology - that army has to be dismantled. Then only can the problem be solved. We are not the power that gave birth to this problem. It is the King, his clique and his royal army. For a peaceful solution of this problem, what we are saying is that both the armies should be monitored by the UN or a similar organization and go to the people; and that later they can be re-organized into a new Nepali army and that we are ready for. That is why we are not the problem.

We are not standing in the way of a peaceful solution. It is the King and his royal army. Even within the royal army, we do not believe that the lower cadres and officials of the army want the war to go on. It is a small clique of generals who belong to the feudalistic privileged class, the Rana and Shah clans of Nepal; they want this war to go on. If they want the war to go on, we do not want to surrender to them. If they say that we should surrender, if US imperialists say that we should surrender, we are not ready for it. We are ready to fight and die but we are not ready to surrender to this feudalistic clique. That is why we are clearing the path for peace.

For Nepal to rebuild itself in the future, it's going to need help. The most powerful nation in the world that might be able to help is the United States of America. Are you ready to work with America?

We believe that once the Nepali people's desire for a democracy is fulfilled, once there is peace and democracy in the country, we will be ready to develop diplomatic relations with all nations of the world - for the development of Nepali people, we are ready to receive their support and we will be ready. But what we feel till now, and what experience has shown us, is that America does not work for the improvement of people anywhere. It works only for itself. It works for the benefit of the ruling class, the capitalists within America. We don't believe that it will work to benefit the people from a poor country. Still, once there is democracy and peace in Nepal, we are ready to develop a diplomatic relationship with any country and work with any country around the world.

So you could work with America even though it has provided arms for the present government?

We are not talking within the context of the present government. If the so-called current government sitting in Kathmandu, the clique of feudal, privileged class - as long as they exist, there is no question of us working with America or any other country. After this clique is dismantled, once there is people's government - a democratic and progressive government - that government will be ready to work with any country around the world. That is what I was trying to say.

The agenda that the King is moving with, he is negating the possibility of compromise

I want to ask you about India. It has its own Maoists in rural areas called the Naxalites.Are you working with them, supporting them?

We do not have a working relationship with the Maoists [in India]. Since they are communists and we are communists, we have an ideological relationship.

But movement and revolution is not about export and import.

So what they want to do in India is their own business.

And what we are going to do in Nepal is our own business.

So we do not have a direct functional or working relationship [with them].

At an ideological level, we meet from time to time and we have our meetings debates and discussions.

So what they do in India is their business and what we do in Nepal is our business.

And we do not see it as something to be imported or exported.

Some people have felt that you are probably trying to export revolution throughout the subcontinent. Are you saying that you are not?

Ideologically we want to move the global revolution forward.

We want to take the lessons from the positive and the negative experiences of the 20th Century; from revolutions and counter-revolutions of the 20th Century.

Globally the suppressed classes should get their rights, and that's what we want.

But in practical terms we do not believe that one country's army should go to the other country and fight for it.

Ideologically we do want there to be a revolution in the USA and even in your UK, and that the working classes should rule.

That does not mean that once we conquer in Nepal we will go and spread revolution in other countries.

But we will give ideological support, for sure.

We are a part of a global revolution but we do not believe that revolution is something to be exported.

Fighting a war is very expensive. If your supporters are mainly in poor rural parts of Nepal, where are you getting your money from?

We are certainly fighting for the rights of poor people in Nepal. We are the children of Nepali citizens. The main source of our income is the same people we are fighting for. As a secondary source, we used to extract from our enemies; but now, our main source is the support from the people.

What about money from elsewhere in the South Asian region? Whether governments or individuals, maybe in your neighbouring countries?

It's been well established that no government anywhere has financially supported our revolution and nor have they supported us in material or military ways.

This revolution has been supported purely by Nepali people.

So we have not been supported by anyone in terms of military equipment or financially.

This is a pure self-reliant revolution of the Nepali people. This has been seen by the world and the world understands this. We are proud that we are not in the hands of any international group.

We are free to make decisions for the betterment of the Nepali people, because we have taken neither money nor arms from anyone.

I want to ask you about your vision of a future Nepali society.

You have declared war on alcohol and gambling. There have been reports of someone being shot for playing cards. You want to outlaw "vulgar Hindi films".

It sounds very puritanical.

We have experimented with different things. But the vision that we see of the future Nepal is to be free of class exploitation that exists in Nepal; that all classes should be free from feudal exploitation.

Nepal also has caste exploitation. Nepal should be free from the exploitation of the suppressed castes. The suppressed castes have been exploited by feudal castes. And we want them to be free of that.

We also have regional exploitation, like Karnali, a remote region - the ruling class of Kathmandu have never looked into the betterment of these people.

People from zones like Seti, Mahakali and Karnali [in Far West and Mid-West Nepal] should also get their rights. That's what we want.

Similarly the two- or three-fold exploitation of women - they are exploited by the feudal class and by the men. They should also be free of this exploitation. Women should have equal rights and equal participation on the social, political and economic fronts.

What we are saying is, our future is going to be free from caste, class, regional and gender exploitation.

Nepal should be a common platform for all groups. At the same time, the cultural, political and economic affairs of the country should be decided by the people.

The right to make decisions should be exercised by everyone. And it should be progressive. It should move towards a progressive culture.

That's what we believe. We certainly have said that dirty and vulgar materials and literature from America or cheap and dirty literature from India should be banned.

We believed that and we still believe that. We also definitely want to eliminate bad habits like alcohol and gambling from the villages. What we believe is that in the 10 years of "People's Revolution", the roots of feudalism have been cut off and there is a situation of freedom.

Because of the war, people have suffered.

But if you go and look into the hearts of people in the villages, they don't feel as exploited as they did yesterday. They feel self-respect.

A poor woman in a village with a gun, moving forward to build a new society, feels her life as a woman has been elevated.

In a village, there is respect even for the poor. And the suppressed feel that they have a new life as human beings. We are building new lives in these villages.

You won't find exploitation and injustice in villages, such as discrimination against dalits [the lowest castes]. And the practice of "untouchability" has ended.

There is a great feeling that all people are equal. In this way we have been bringing sweeping changes to the villages.

And once the war is over, we believe that we can move forward and develop economically or otherwise at a very fast pace.

If you had such great support, why would you need to use such violence? For example, you declared a strike last week, forcing people to shut their businesses, not drive their vehicles, etc.

Your people in Kathmandu shot dead a taxi driver for disobeying that order. What does it mean when people only obey out of fear, pure and simple?

The first thing is that we did not start the violence. When we were in the parliament, in the district where we had the maximum support, violence was used on the people by the royal army and the police. They made the people compelled to revolt against it.

When do we become violent? Only when the rulers use violence on the people. Certainly, because we have maximum support from people, we have been able to rebel against this. Because we have vision, we have been able to rebel against it. As long as the feudal autocrats do not stop killing the people, there will be a rebellion against it. That rebellion is the right of the people. What we are saying is that in the current situation of Nepal, the right to rebellion by the oppressed is a human right. There are no greater human rights than the people's right to fight for their rights.

As far as what you have said about the taxi driver, I do not know if it was done by our people or someone else. Right now, people are against the King and his so-called elections, and the rebellion could come from anyone. I do not know that it was us who killed the taxi driver. We are investigating this - we are looking for who killed him. There is no proof that we killed him.

In this conflict your side, the Maoists, have killed more children than the other side. Your bombs have killed and maimed children. You have recruited children under 12. Isn't this something to be ashamed of - the treatment of children?

In our party's central policy, we do not have a policy of recruiting children. We do not even train children below 16 years old as militia. Accidentally children have been killed, and we are saddened by that.

But the situation does not match the account that the ruling classes and the feudals have propagated. Children whose parents have been killed in the war - taking care of them is the responsibility of the party.

That's why we are compelled to take care of, educate and provide work for hundreds of children, even those who are 12 to 15 years old.

This is a compulsion born out of the war. This compulsion has been falsely portrayed by the feudal elements as forced recruitment of children.

As for children who have been accidentally killed, we are deeply sad about it.

We are trying our very best to ensure that such accidents do not happen.

We are doing our best, and this is the truth.

But it's well known - anyone who has seen the Maoist army knows that there are certainly children under 16 there. That's the case, isn't it?

In village militias it might be true but in the People's Liberation Army that's not the situation.

You are a married man. You have four children yourself, I imagine grown up by now. They had a schooling. Yet, the Maoists have closed schools - not only private ones but community ones as well. Would you have wanted your children to have been deprived of education in that kind of way?

Where have we closed down schools? Schools are running and even with our own efforts, we are trying to open schools and educate children. My children went to school when they were young and are now in the movement.

But I've been and visited people who are no longer being educated because their schools have been closed down.

A Since we are in a state of war, certainly things have not moved the way that they should have been. That is why we need to end the war and for this we need to defeat Gyanendra-ism, feudalism and the royal army.

When all people get together and triumph over the autocracy, then only education could be provided in an organized way. As long as the autocratic rule is committing atrocities on the people, till then war is going to escalate and it would be difficult to systematize the education. Yet, even in the situation of war, we are trying to ensure that schools are running and education is possible.

I've met families of people who have been killed by the Maoists for allegedly supporting the army. Yet you know very well that both sides force them to help them, to feed them. Isn't it wrong to kill them on the basis of that so-called "evidence"?

The statement that we have forced people to support us is not true. Because before we did not have an army and nor did we have any weapons. We came forth because of people's support and help. It is not possible therefore that we would use force on people.

As for our enemies, the feudal elements and the autocrats, after the rebellion started, there are numerous incidents where they have raped women, torched houses and villages; where the army has surrounded them and forced them to carry their luggage. All these have been carried out by the feudalistic autocratic elements, not our army.

You might have heard this being propagated but the reality is different. If you look at the villages, when there is a cessation of war, our People's Liberation Army works in the fields of people, they work as labourers to build roads for people - they have been doing all this work. That is why, to say that our army uses force on people is totally untrue.

In times of war, in difficult circumstances, things might not work as planned and at times, even though we might have wanted, we might not have managed to organize things the right way. But in general, from our side, there has been and there will be no force on people.

I'm not sure you understood my question. As I say, I've met families of people who have been killed by the Maoists for allegedly supporting the army. That's what I want to ask about - killing people on completely unjustified grounds.

We have not killed people or anyone when army surrounds the village and forces people to support and help them. The policy of our party is that informants of the army, the ones who work as spies, and have committed the crime of killing people, then there would be action against them. There is a policy to act against them. But there is no policy that we kill people generally on the basis that they have helped the royal army.

Unfortunately, if such an incident does happen, we have been admitting to this and publicly apologized for it. Whenever such a mistake is made and someone loses their life outside of our policy, we have asked for a pardon from the people.

You've said, for instance after an atrocity last June when Maoists bombed a bus, killing nearly 40 civilians and a few soldiers - you said you were "sad and hurt" about that.

Yet the UN office in Nepal says it never gets evidence that you have punished the perpetrators of such acts. Why can't you give such evidence?

I think you probably don't know this, but after that incident at Madi when there was an explosion on the bus, we were shocked beyond words.

Our party workers who were involved in it, they were expelled from the party and the army, and the report on how this expulsion was carried out was given to the UN.

We informed them about who was sentenced, who had committed what crime, the nature of the crime, and the kinds of punishment given to them.

All this information was given.

Sometimes you seem to say one thing and do another. For instance, you told the UN that you would not attack candidates from last week's municipal elections, but you did. Two of them got killed. How can people believe you?

When we talked about it. I mean, there is no difference is what we have been saying and what we have been doing. In the circumstance, when we were in ceasefire, we had said that and even later, we did not have a policy of physically harming any candidate.

But there has been only one incident - not two - according to the report that was given to our central [committee] - in Janakpur - where a local worker of the party took responsibility for the killing. We are investigating this.

If we had wanted, we could have killed many candidates. Because we did not have the policy of killing them, they were not killed. Our party did not have a policy of killing them because they are candidates. We are investigating on the incident of Janakpur and this has been informed to the United Nations Human Rights office. That is why there is no difference between what we say and what we do.

As for an informer of the royal army being a candidate, we might have a process of capturing them and trying them in the people's court. As a candidate and an informer of the royal army, if he has been responsible for killing people, the party policy is to take action against him. It is important to understand these two things correctly.

What kind of action?

Our policy is that if he is an informer, we'd capture him, stand him in front of the people's court, and take action as per the verdict of the court.

Considering the degree of the crime, he could be given a labour punishment for a certain time, or for a while kept under the custody of people, and if the crime is big, he could even be executed. The party policy is to follow this process.

Do you have a timetable to lay down your arms? Or a planned timetable?

We do not look at it in terms of a time line. We see it in terms of policy. As soon as the people are given the right to decide of their own fate and of their own future, we will be ready to lay down our arms. But if the people are not given their rights, we are committed to and are ready to fight till the end.

That's why we cannot give a timetable on when we can lay down our arms and when we would use them. As soon as people get their rights, as soon as there is a possibility for a democracy, as soon as people can make decisions on their own lives, then there is a possibility of laying down our arms.

More concretely, what needs to happen for you to give up your arms? What's the bottom line, the minimum, that you need to give up your arms struggle?

We have already clearly said in our 12-point agreement with the parliamentary political parties, as soon as there is a possibility of preparing a new constitution through a constituent assembly, and form a new army, we are ready to call off the war. For now, the bottom line is the agreement with the seven political parties.

Do you believe in the multi-party system or would you like your party to be the one party ruling Nepal at some point in the future?

I am going to address this question very seriously. Three years ago, at a Central Committee meeting of our party, analyzing the experiences from 20th century communist states, we put forward a proposal for the development of democracy.

In the 21st century we cannot have a state like those of the 20th century.

That's why our Central Committee unanimously passed this paper on the development of democracy in the 21st century.

The spirit of this paper is that there should be peaceful competition between all political parties against feudalism and foreign imperialist forces.

And that there should be multi-party competition. Since then we have said that within a certain constitutional provision multi-party competition [should exist] as long as it's against feudalism, against foreign imperialistic interference and all political parties can compete against each other.

And this document was unanimously passed three years ago in very clear terms.

In the agreement that we recently made with the political parties, we have clearly stated that we agree to multi-party competition.

What we have seen from the 20th century, and the lessons that we have learnt from the experiences of the 20th century, a very important question was - to understand the subject of democracy and dictatorship we need to develop a new consciousness for this.

And we have passed this.

Our opponents have understood us in a dogmatic way. We are not dogmatic but our opponents are. They are looking at us with 20th Century glasses. But we are already moving into the 21st Century.

[We are looking at] the kind of state that is possible in the 21st Century, how to give people the maximum possible rights; how to organize competition; and how to guarantee that this competition does not lead to oppression and suppression.

In short, democracy and dictatorship....How to make use of this conflict between them - we are developing on this.

And from this process of development, we have termed, development of democracy. People think that our commitment to the multi-party competition is purely a tactic and that we are trying to cheat someone.

But in reality we have taken the experience of an entire century, discussed it, analyzed it in our party, and we've come to a conclusion that the development of democracy is necessary in the 21st Century.

That's why we take multi-party competition very seriously.

We want to move forward. Even in our understanding with the parties, we have said that we don't want autocracy; that we have to crush the feudal autocracy that exists today.

It will never propagate multi-party competition.

Events have proved this.

Not only now - four years ago, when the royal massacre happened, we saw that the feudal autocracy was snatching away the rights that we gained in the 1990 democracy movement.

The parliamentary parties were also against the royal massacre.

That's why we appealed to the political parties to join us and build a platform, and [we said] we are ready to compete with you, and the feudal autocracy was a common enemy of ours and we should fight against it.

And we have been talking about multi-party competition since then.

I strongly believe we need to understand this clearly.

Do you want to be leader of this country? Head of state?

It depends on this political movement and how the events proceed.

Our movement is not for me to be the head of state.

This movement is to grant democratic rights to Nepali people and secure a better future for them. It's not for me to be a head of state.

If this movement goes on and if the situation arises, then if need be, and if necessary for the Nepali people, I am of course ready for it.

But I also want to clarify that - from the lessons of the 20th Century communist states - we want to move to a new plane in terms of leadership - where one person doesn't remain the party leader or the head of state.

This discussion is going on within our party, on the subject of leadership, how the leadership should develop; even after the state is captured, how to institutionalize the subject of leadership and how to prepare new leaders, how to prepare lakhs [hundreds of thousands] of successors to them.

What were the negative experiences of the 20th Century in which people who should have been more powerful and should have had more rights, could not get them?

We are studying this.

Why it could not happen during Stalin's time, how much of this happened in Mao's time - we are studying this and we are in the process of developing a new system of thought.

The question of being head of state is not a major question.

The major question is the development of ideology which would globally uplift and give rights to the working class - our focus is on developing that ideology.

That's why people might have a difficult time understanding us.

Those who see us with 20th Century eyes would not understand us because we are talking about democracy.

In the 20th Century, totalitarianism was widely propagated.

People might find it surprising.

The main difference in us is when we talk about Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and their ideology, we believe that it has to be developed.

Just practising it is not enough.

To protect it, practice it and develop it is necessary.

The responsibility of developing it falls on every scientific thinking person.

After the 10 years of our struggle for people, we believe this responsibility falls on us, and we are thinking about it.

You've been living an underground existence for 25 years. What's it been like for you and for your family?

Underground - one needs to understand it clearly. I have not been underground from the people. I am only underground from the feudalistic elements and its royal army. In villages where people are free, I stay freely too. I meet my family, my children and my wife.

Where do you think Nepal will be in five years' time?

I think it will be a republican state. I believe that it will be a republic state in less than five years. I believe that in a short while, Nepal will be a democratic republic.

People's resistance exists. With the unity that has developed between the seven political parties, us and the civic society, and the way that the autocratic monarchy and the royal army have been cornered, with this very shortly Nepal will become a republic.

And even in the international community, the way that the feudal elements have been cornered and their dramas have been exposed - in such a situation we believe that the Nepali people will go for a republic and in a peaceful way the process of rebuilding Nepal will go forward.

In five years' time Nepal will move towards being a beautiful, peaceful and progressive nation.

In five years' time the millions of Nepalis will already be moving ahead with a mission to make a beautiful future, and Nepal will truly start becoming a heaven on earth.

Where will the king be?

He will be crushed. The king I think will either be executed by the people's court or he might be exiled. For the king, today's Nepal has no future.

We don't see a future for him and the Nepali people don't either. The king might be finished or he might flee.

To build a new future for this country you will have to compromise on some areas. What might those areas be?

If you are talking about compromise, compromise with whom?

If you are talking about compromise with the king, we don't see that happening.

The only point of compromise, as we have clearly said, is that all political powers in Nepal should be ready to follow the people's wishes, that there should be free and fair elections for the new constitution, and the compromise would happen when everyone is ready to follow the verdict of this election.

But time has moved forward.

The king doesn't have that space now.

The steps the king has taken, like the drama of the so-called municipal elections - the whole world saw it as the eighth wonder of the world.

And now the path the king has taken, there is no space for compromise with him.

There was a possibility for compromise before 1 February last year.

But after the steps he has taken between 1 February and now, we don't see any space for compromise, and the Nepali people do not see space for compromise either.

We can have an understanding with the political parties and the international community for the development of Nepali people, for peace, for progress - that we are ready for.

A few minutes ago you said theoretically it would be possible to keep the monarchy. Now you are saying a likely future for the king is exile or he might even be killed and there is no compromise.

If you talk in those absolute terms how are you going to reach any agreement with the powers that be in this country?

What I'm trying to say is that the king has taken steps that do not give any room for compromise.

It would be correct to say that the path that he has taken is the road to hell.

If he has chosen the path of no compromise, there is no way that we are going to see a compromise.

Theoretically as I said there was a possibility. But that has now turned into hypothesis. What I mean is: the agenda that the king is moving with, he is negating the possibility of compromise.

In the second stage, I was saying that the king himself has finished this possibility and has taken the path to hell.

He is not trying to give the rights to people or even the parliamentary parties.

And in such a situation there is no question of seeing a point of compromise with him. This is what I was trying to say.