The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Go-slow on Gyanendra angers Nepalis

Kathmandu, May 16: Protests again erupted in several Nepal cities, including Kathmandu, today over delay in implementing a resolution to strip all political and military powers of King Gyanendra.

Demonstrations hit Pokhara and some cities of western Nepal as angry protesters set government vehicles ablaze in Kathmandu.

Home minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula appealed to the protesters for restraint at a hastily-organised news conference. He said the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) will present the resolution curtailing the king’s powers in the House of Representatives on Thursday. The minister said the entire process was delayed as the SPA wanted the resolution to be passed by the cabinet first. “Let there be no doubts. We will table the resolution on Thursday”, he said.

Sitaula denied that former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had opposed the move to strip Gyanendra of the post of supreme commander-in- chief of the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA). Sitaula also denied that Deuba was against plans to bring the RNA under the full control of parliament. “There is no truth in such reports. The SPA is one on this issue,”he asserted.

Deuba, who was the target of the protesters today, denied in a statement that he had opposed the moves to strip Gyanendra of political and military powers and bring the RNA under parliament control. “This is character assassination and unfair. I have repeatedly emphasised the need to bring the army under the parliament. Why should I support the king when he has repeatedly victimised me'” he said.

Deuba added that his party also supported the move to rename the government of Nepal.

Angry protesters burnt tyres and chanted slogans against the delay in implementing the resolution. Student wings of various political parties of the alliance organised rallies in Nepal cities against the government.

Dozens gathered outside the secretariat which houses parliament and the Prime Minister’s office. “Down with monarchy”,“Gyanendra thief, leave the country”,“Down with corrupt leaders,” they shouted. “I don’t think these leaders are capable of doing this,” said Govinda Rayamajhi, one of the protesters, referring to the resolution.

Analysts said people were expecting quick changes and lacked confidence in the political leaders who are now in charge. People have very little faith in politicians and think they are slow in taking decisions,” said Rajendra Dahal, editor of the magazine, Himal.

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