All Nepali citizens should be given the right to carry arms for protecting themselves from "colonial powers", a controversial Maoist Minister said. Gopal Kiranti did not elaborate on the "colonial powers", but the statement comes a day after media quoted a yet-to-be released Maoist political document as saying that "American colonialism is moving ahead through Indian expansionism with the intention of increasing its hegemony in South Asia." "As human rights cannot be guaranteed in the absence of a gun, each and every Nepali citizen should be entitled to carry arms," the Maoist Culture Minister told a gathering of pro-Maoist journalists in Banke district in western Nepal. "The 20 million Nepalese, except the minors and elderly, should be allowed to carry weapons... If we don't carry weapons, the colonial powers will swallow us," he was quoted as saying by the 'Nepal Samacharpatra' daily. Kiranti, the main man behind the controversial sacking of Indian priests and appointment of local priests in Pashupatinath, said the move was scrapped not as a result of "Indian interference", but due to lack of proper procedures. He insisted that new Nepali priests will be appointed by fulfilling all the formalities.