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Maoists warn Manisha Koirala

Maoists have warned Manisha to stop campaigning for the king and have threatened to take action against her if she doesn't.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 20:52 IST

By Sudeshna Sarkar

Maoist guerrillas have reportedly warned Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala, who hails from Nepal, they would take action against her if she did not stop campaigning for King Gyanendra.

This week, the guerrillas held a series of programmes in the far-west region, where they told journalists if the actress continued to root for the king, who seized power with the help of the army last year, they would teach her a lesson right in Mumbai, India's glamour and business capital which the star has made her home for over a decade.

At a programme organised by the cultural wing of underground rebels in a village in Bardiya district, Maoist leader Ganesh Bhandari proclaimed the edict on Manisha, the Nepal Samacharpatra daily reported.

The news travelled fast, being picked up by the private radio station Himalayan Broadcasting Corporation, which reported the Maoist fatwa quoting the daily.

Since 2002, when Gyanendra started controlling the government by dismissing then prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and appointing three premiers of his own choice, Manisha and her father Prakash Koirala have been publicly supporting the monarch.

 
 Manisha Koirala has gone against her grandfather's politics and is showing support for King Gyanendra's rule

Last month, Manisha flew from Mumbai to campaign for the controversial local elections called by the king for Feb 8. However, her canvassing cut little ice with the voters who ignored the contestant she had supported and stayed away from the exercise.

Over 95 percent of the political parties did not take part in the elections while only about 20 percent voters turned up to vote.

Ironically, while Manisha is supporting the king, her grandfather, the late Bishweshwor Prasad Koirala, was one of the foremost champions of the pro-democracy movements in Nepal that sought to end autocratic regimes and establish multi-party democracy. His younger brother, Girija Prasad Koirala, is one of the leaders of the ongoing movement against Gyanendra's coup.

However, both Manisha and her father, who was made a minister by the king last year, have been publicly criticising the anti-king movement.

While Manisha and her brother Siddharth have chosen to make a career in Mumbai, Prakash Koirala, like most of the royalist ministers in Gyanendra's cabinet, regard India as Nepal's prime enemy.

This week Prakash Koirala criticised New Delhi in a Nepali daily, Rajdhani, accusing the Indian government of abetting Maoist guerrillas and opposition parties to destabilise Nepal and enforce its control over the kingdom.