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Nepal probe summons army chief for questioning

Security forces are accused of using excessive force to disperse thousands who poured into the streets in April to protest King's rule.

india Updated: Aug 02, 2006 11:31 IST

A judicial commission has summoned Nepal's army chief to question the military's involvement in crackdowns on pro-democracy rallies earlier this year, an official said on Wednesday.

Commission member Harihar Birahi said Gen Pyar Jung Thapa was due to appear on Thursday, becoming the first top military official to face questions about allegations that soldiers used excessive force against the demonstrators.

Thapa had initially been asked to come on Sunday, but he refused saying he had to leave the capital for a scheduled trip to west Nepal.

Birahi said both the army chief and the defence ministry have confirmed that Thapa and his deputies would attend the inquiry on Thursday.

Nepal's security forces are accused of using excessive force to disperse the hundreds of thousands who poured into the streets in April to protest King Gyanendra's rule.

At least 21 people were killed and hundreds more injured during the protests, which eventually forced Gyanendra to give up powers he seized more than a year earlier and to reinstate Parliament.

The commission has the power to investigate and recommend punishment for those found guilty of abuses.

The commission has questioned several of Gyanendra's aides and people who worked in his authoritarian government.