Last Hindu king no longer a god
20may06, Herald Sun, Australia
THE divine rule of Nepal's King Gyanendra, the world's last Hindu monarch, has abruptly ended after parliament declared the nation secular and drastically curbed his powers.
Nepal's parliament passed a proclamation severely reducing the status of the king revered by devout Hindus as a reincarnation of the deity Vishnu, the god of protection.
Nepal's new Government declared yesterday a public holiday, while media hailed the resolution as a "Nepali Magna Carta".
"The Government has announced a public holiday across the country . . . to celebrate Thursday's historic proclamation that made the house of representatives sovereign and all-powerful," said Home Ministry spokesman Baman Prasad Neupane.
Nepal's Government unanimously stripped King Gyanendra of political power and removed his control of the army.
The Government will also choose his successor and the royal family will have to pay tax.
Mass protests forced King Gyanendra to relinquish absolute rule last month after seizing power in February 2005.
BJP, allies protest Nepal decision
HT Correspondent, Gorakhpur, May 19
THE BHARATIYA Janata Party (BJP) and its allies on Friday strongly reacted to abolishing the Hindu nation character of Nepal by the Nepalese Parliament and declaring it a secular state. Thousands of activists, belonging to the BJP and its allies, took out a march in Sonauli, Thoothibari of Maharajganj district to express their anger at the decision of Parliament. National president of the World Hindu Federation (India Wing) and BJP MP Yogi Adityanath led the march.
They also handed over a memorandum to district magistrate Maharajganj addressed to the President of India. Adityanath directed the party activists to launch a movement against the decision of the Nepalese Parliament. The procession passed through various routes and raised slogans against the Nepalese Government. The Hindu Yuva Vahini, the Hindu Mahasabha and other organisations supported the march.
Strongly condemning the decision of the Nepalese Parliament Adityanath said that it was a deep-rooted conspiracy of international force and said that if Britain and the USA could be a religion-based state with secular identity, why can’t Nepal get the same status.
Adityanath said that whenever Nepal would be secular state, the security of India would come under threat from the ISI and Maoists.
Adityanath criticised the anti-Hindu forces and said that they had become active at the international level and the current decision of the Nepalese Parliament was only an example.
Nepal rebels back move to curb king, want more
19 May 2006 Source: Reuters
KATHMANDU, May 19 (Reuters) – Nepal's Maoist rebels backed sweeping cuts of the king's powers on Friday but said the changes should not overshadow planned talks to end their decade-old insurgency that aims to overthrow the monarchy.The comments by the rebels came a day after Nepal's parliament curtailed the powers of the king drastically and took away his control over the army.
On Friday, about 5,000 people, shouting "it is a victory of people", marched in Kathmandu, to celebrate the proclamation.
"We have to establish a republic," the cheering and dancing crowds shouted barely 500 metres (yards) from King Gyanendra's sprawling palace in the capital.
In the southern town of Narayanghat, crowds toppled a statue of Mahendra, the father of King Gyanendra, and marched through the streets, witnesses said.
Similar rallies were also held in other towns and districts, residents said.
The proclamation also declared the royal family had to pay taxes, scrapped the royal advisory council and declared Nepal was no longer a Hindu kingdom but a secular country. It also said that the king's actions could be challenged in court and took over the power to make laws on the heir to the throne.
"Our party welcomes and supports it," the elusive rebel chief Prachanda said in a statement.
But it was not enough, he added.
The proclamation seemed to have interpreted last month's mass protests against the king and demands for a republic to mean that the monarch should remain a ceremonial head, Prachanda said.
"This is incomplete in itself."
He said the move was silent about "peace talks as a solution to the problem of a decade-old civil war and this has given rise to serious suspicion".
The Maoists have been fighting since 1996 to overthrow the monarchy and establish one-party communist rule. In November, the rebels and seven mainstream parties agreed to a loose pact against the king after he grabbed power in Feb. 2005.
They have agreed to talks aimed at ending a revolt that has killed more than 13,000 people.
They are also preparing for elections to a new assembly to draft a constitution and decide the future of the monarchy, a key rebel demand.
Some analysts have expressed doubts over the effectiveness of the proclamation, and said it could be challenged in court. But the multi-party government asserts that the document overrides the 1990 constitution and has the force of law.
Nepal's media widely welcomed it and the government declared Friday a public holiday to mark the event.
"Nepali Magna Carta is born" read a banner headline in The Kathmandu Post daily.
The United States welcomed the "historic proclamation".
"The United States supports the Nepal Government as it continues its efforts to restore and strengthen democracy, "a U.S. embassy statement said.
Cutting the monarch's powers was a key demand of last month's pro-democracy protests, which forced Gyanendra's capitulation.
King Gyanendra plunged Nepal into political turmoil when he sacked the government and assumed power last year, saying the government had failed to quell the Maoist revolt.