Nepal's ex-ministers questioned on human rights abuses | india | Hindustan Times
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Nepal's ex-ministers questioned on human rights abuses

india Updated: Jun 27, 2006 13:58 IST
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A judicial commission on Tuesday questioned top members of Nepal's former royal government over alleged human rights abuses during crackdowns on protesters at pro-democracy rallies, an official said.

Tulsi Giri, who was second in command to King Gyanendra during the monarch's 14-month authoritarian rule, faced the commission on Tuesday along with two other former Cabinet ministers, said Harihar Birahi, one of the panel's members.

"We have begun questioning these former Cabinet members on their role in human rights abuses and also financial irregularities while they were in power," Birahi told the agency.

Gyanendra seized power on February 1, 2005 and formed a government under his chairmanship.

Giri was appointed vice chairman and is believed to have been a key planner in the royal power grab.

The protests gained momentum earlier this year when an alliance of seven main political parties joined with communist Maoist rebels to press the king to return power to an elected government.

The rebels had waged an armed battle since 1996 to topple Nepal's constitutional monarchy and replace it with a communist state, but have since announced a ceasefire.

The king's aides are accused of ordering security forces to use excessive force to disperse the hundreds of thousands who poured into the streets to protest the monarch's rule.

At least 21 people were killed and hundreds more injured. The protests eventually forced the king to give up powers and reinstate Parliament in April.

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

Several ministers who served under the king and his close aides have been put under surveillance and summoned for questioning.