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King's name removed from new coin

The name of Nepal's embattled king has been removed from the two-rupee coin, said state bank.

world Updated: Sep 06, 2007 16:44 IST

The name of Nepal's embattled king has been removed from the two-rupee coin, the state bank said Thursday, in the latest move ahead of polls this year that could see the country become a republic.

King Gyanendra's name has been replaced on the coin with an image of Mount Everest, the world's highest peak which is on Nepal's border with China.

The other side of the coin, which is worth about three cents, shows a farmer ploughing a field.

"This is the first time we have removed the name of the king from coins," Manmohan Kumar Shrestha, the chief currency management official at Nepal's state bank, told AFP.

The national bank had begun distribution on Thursday of 100 million coins without the king's image, the official said, adding his image would also soon be removed from high-denomination bills.

"The new notes will have the picture of Mount Everest instead of the king, and an image of a rhododendron, a national flower, as a water mark instead of the king," Shrestha said.

Revered by supporters as a living incarnation of a Hindu god, King Gyanendra was forced to end 14 months of much-criticised authoritarian rule last April after massive protests organised by former rebel Maoists and the country's main political parties.

Since November 2006, the king has been stripped of most of his powers including his role as head of state and army chief. Last month the government also nationalised seven of his royal palaces.

The monarch's fate is set to be decided immediately after crucial elections planned for November when a body elected to rewrite a new constitution will decide whether the king will stay or go.

The fiercely republican Maoists, who have been given seats in parliament as well as ministerial portfolios, have called for the monarchy to be scrapped before the November polls.