Nepal: Leaders Reject Attempt To Save The Monarchy
Democracy Leaders Reject Nepalese King’s Attempt To Save The Monarchy
By D. Michael Van De Veer
April 22, 2006
Kathmandu, Nepal: Nepal’s besieged God-King, Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shaw went on nation-wide television and radio Friday in a desperate attempt to save the Monarchy.
In the much anticipated 5 minute speech the King responded to the concerns of India’s Special Envoy , Karen Singh, who had been rushed to Kathmandu by the Indian Government, but failed to address many of the central demands of the 7-Party Alliance (SPA) and the Maoist insurgents who reached a 12-Point Agreement which, if implemented, leads to elections and an end to the Maoists’ armed insurgency.
The King, citing Article: 35 of the 1990 Constitution proclaimed, “Executive power of the Kingdom of Nepal, which was in our safekeeping, shall be returned to the people”.
His Majesty did not mention that the 1990 Constitution also reserved the RNA (Royal Nepalese Army), which has propped up the monarchy, to the King.
There was no mention of many of the prominent demands of the SPA such as creating a Special Assembly to write a new constitution, nor the 12-Point Agreement.
While major news outlets hysterically report that , “the King has restored democracy”, the Coordinating Body of the SPA issued a statement vowing to continue the 2 week long bandah (strike) and demonstrations until the peoples’ demands are met. While the SPA has yet to release it’s “official” response and the Maoists say they will consult with the SPA before further comment, Civil Society and Party leaders, as reported by Kantipur News, viewed the King’s offer as, “incomplete and ambiguous” and “a conspiracy to diffuse the ongoing Peoples Movement”. United We Blog, a leading source of discussion and opinion, termed the King’s message as “deceptive” and having “only solidified his ambition to stay in power”.
As the call for restoration of democracy and the end to the Feb.1, 2005 Royal power grab has gained momentum, and the call for a Republic is being supported by hundreds of thousands throughout the Kingdom, King Gyanendra seems unwilling or unable to understand the demands of the Nepalese people.
Each day the Pro-Democracy ranks swell even as the brutal attacks on unarmed protestors by the Security Forces continues.
Yesterday there were more than 300,000
demonstrators in Kathmandu, and large demonstrations across
the Kingdom. Larger demonstrations are expected on this 17th
day of the agitation.
Hundreds of protestors have been beaten with batons, shot with rubber and live bullets, and tear-gassed. Hospitals throughout the Kingdom are filled to capacity with the injured and blood is in short supply.
An expert on Nepal, and faculty Member of the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, S.D. Muni is quoted in the Times of India, a leading Indian newspaper as saying, “the King is fighting a violent battle, which he can’t win. There is growing feeling in India that the King cannot be sustained.”
In 1989, in response to a threat of increasing Chinese arms supplies to Nepal, India sealed the border with Nepal and suspended the shipment of all petroleum products until Democracy was restored. With a massive debt owed to the IOC (Indian Oil Company) by Nepal’s only petroleum importer and the continued suppression of the pro Democracy movement, New Delhi grows increasingly concerned that it may be to resort to the same action. Aware that the King can resort to playing his “anti-India” card, India weighs it options to help prevent all out civil-war in Nepal.