//After animal sacrifices, Nepal King now turns to 'god-woman'

After animal sacrifices, Nepal King now turns to 'god-woman'

Thursday May 11 2006 00:00 IST, IANS

KATHMANDU: Four years of incessant ritual worship and animal sacrifices at various shrines in Nepal and abroad may have failed to uphold his absolute rule, but King Gyanendra is seeking fresh divine help.

The king is now consulting a new "god woman", said a media report Wednesday. He is clearly undeterred by the fact that his 15-month rule, punctuated by erratic actions supposedly taken on the advice of his retinue of astrologers and god men, made the palace so unpopular that Nepalis are clamouring to abolish monarchy.

A middle-aged, little-educated woman from Nepalgunj town in midwestern Dang district is the latest "divine mediator" for the Narayanhity Royal Palace, the popular Jana Aastha weekly reported Wednesday.

Known as Bijuli Mata, the woman has supernatural powers and can bail the King out of his difficulties, royalists believe.

She was flown to the capital last week along with a child helper in a palace helicopter kept for VVIPs, the report said.

The Royal Nepalese Army, which too has come under fire in Parliament with MPs demanding its dissociation from the palace, reportedly played a key role in staging a meeting between the King and the "god woman".

An army general, who was formerly part of the palace royal guards, is said to have discovered the woman and her supernatural powers. She was flown in by two colonels and after arriving in the capital, was reportedly screened by army chief Gen Pyar Jung Thapa before being taken to the palace.

Bijuli Mata replaces Kali Baba, a god man from India, who is said to know people in high places in the Indian capital. Last year, the Baba had also been flown in to meet the King and reportedly pray as well as mediate to strengthen his rule.

Less than a week before the Bijuli Mata's arrival, the King made his first public appearance since surrendering power last week when he worshipped at a temple in Kathmandu Valley. Accompanied by Queen Komal, he had four animals and a bird sacrificed at the shrine of Dakshin Kali, whose worship is believed to increase one's power and destroy enemies.