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No plan of coup: Nepal army chief

world Updated: Oct 23, 2007 23:37 IST
Anirban Roy
Anirban Roy
Hindustan Times
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Nepal's Army chief General Rukmangad Katwal said on Tuesday that the Nepal army would not stage a coup.



Dismissing speculation that the army might stage a coup as baseless, Katwal said the army was already integrated into the democratic system of Nepal.



As the pro-republican forces in Nepal go all out to clip King Gyanendra's wings, there has been growing apprehension that the army would try to stage a coup to bail out the monarch from the political crisis.



General Katwal is the object of much suspicion since in addition to holding the position of army chief, he is King Gyanendra's foster brother, and was brought up in Narayanhity Palace by King Mahendra as his son.



Speaking to representatives of civil society at Amardal battalion in Sankhuwasabha district, General Katwal made it clear that the Nepal army would obey the orders of the government at every step of the way.



There are reports that the government is seriously trying to force General Katwal to retire from service and appoint Lieutenant-General Kul Bahadur Khadka, a loyal of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, as the new chief of Nepal Army.



In another development, senior Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai warned of quitting the interim parliament if the special session resuming on October 29 fails to declare Nepal a republic.