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Nepal King forced to cancel holiday

The isolated King cancelled his holiday after the premier advised him against traveling outside the capital.

india Updated: Dec 26, 2006 14:23 IST

Nepal's isolated King Gyanendra has cancelled a planned holiday after the prime minister advised him against traveling outside the capital due to fears it could spark trouble, a newspaper said on Tuesday.

The monarch, accompanied by his wife, Queen Komal, was planning to spend a month in his palace in Hetauda, 50 km south of Kathmandu, starting this week.

It would have been the first major trip by the king outside the capital since April.

In the past, such visits were an opportunity for him to meet supporters and loyalists.

However, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala feared there could be clashes this time between the monarch's supporters and those opposed to him, the Kathmandu Post newspaper reported.

"I talked to him about the visit. It is Kamal Thapa's place. So I thought anything could happen there and asked the king to cancel the visit," Koirala was quoted as saying by the daily.

Thapa was interior minister during the violent pro-democracy campaign in April, which led to King Gyanendra handing power back to political parties.

Thapa was accused of using strong-arm tactics to curb the demonstrations during which at least 22 people were killed.

Supporters and opponents of the monarch have clashed elsewhere across the Himalayan country over the past few weeks but the trouble has been sporadic.

Last year, the king fired the government, jailed politicians, suspended civil liberties and took absolute control saying he was acting to crush an anti-monarchy Maoist revolt which has killed more than 13,000 people since 1996.

The king, traditionally considered an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, was stripped of all powers including his control over the army after he stepped down.

The Maoists signed a landmark peace deal with the government last month and are preparing to join an interim administration to oversee elections to a special assembly that will draw up a new constitution and decide the fate of the monarchy.