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Gyanendra concedes more: Now Parliament

NEPAL?S KING Gyanendra, in a televised address to the nation late on Monday, agreed to reinstate parliament and called its session on Friday. Coming a day ahead of the massive rally called in Kathmandu by the Seven-Party Alliance, the announcement is a key concession for the pro-democracy forces.

india Updated: Apr 25, 2006 13:17 IST

NEPAL’S KING Gyanendra, in a televised address to the nation late on Monday, agreed to reinstate parliament and called its session on Friday. Coming a day ahead of the massive rally called in Kathmandu by the Seven-Party Alliance, the announcement is a key concession for the pro-democracy forces.

Sources said the SPA may accept the revival of parliament as its members could then constitute a constituent assembly to amend the 1990 Constitution and remove Article 127, which gives the king the right to dismiss elected governments.

Earlier in the day, India expressed the hope that the king would "see some sense" and make an announcement to this effect ahead of the rally — which could precipitate "more extreme changes". At a meeting late on Sunday with Gyanendra, India's ambassador Shiv Shankar Mukherjee had urged more action from the king to defuse the crisis.

In Delhi, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee chaired a high-level meeting to review the Nepal crisis. Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Army chief J.J. Singh and senior officials were present.

An official statement said while several contingency plans were discussed, there were "no plans whatsoever for evacuation of Indian officials or nationals from Nepal".

On Monday, the US and Canada and some other countries evacuated staff from their embassies leading to the speculation that India might follow suit. A statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said: "We don't believe the situation in Nepal warrants any such planning."

"There has been no recommendation from our embassy" that Indians be evacuated from Nepal or planes be kept on standby, a highly placed source said. The anti-India sentiment that surfaced after India "welcomed" Gyanendra's statement on Friday offering to hand over executive power to the SPA, has "largely dissipated" and no threats against Indians was apprehended, sources said.

The meeting also discussed ways to facilitate the movement of vehicles containing essential commodities and foodstuffs, blocked along the Indo-Nepal border. Also, security along the porous border was strengthened to check the anticipated inflow of Nepalese following the crisis.

Curfew in Kathmandu
Curfew declared in Kathmandu on Tuesday. Shoot-on-sight orders issued even as UN urges king to show restraint US and Canada order evacuation of their embassy staff. India says it won’t follow suit