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A step back

More than 20 people were seriously injured when the police opened fire on thousands of pro-democracy protestors marching towards Singha Durbar, the seat of Nepal?s administration. Doctors at the Kathmandu Model Hospital told HT that more than 100 injured protestors had been brought in by Saturday evening.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2006 13:38 IST

20 seriously injured in firing
More than 20 people were seriously injured when the police opened fire on thousands of pro-democracy protestors marching towards Singha Durbar, the seat of Nepal’s administration. Doctors at the Kathmandu Model Hospital told HT that more than 100 injured protestors had been brought in by Saturday evening.

Earlier in the day, leaders of the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA), which is spearheading the pro-democracy movement, met at former PM Girija Prasad Koirala’s Maharajgunj residence and unanimously rejected King Gyanendra’s Friday offer of returning executive power to the people.

Emerging from the SPA meeting, Madhav Kumar Nepal, general secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal (UML), told HT: "The King has rejected our demands and has ignored the aspirations of the people of Nepal."

In response to the SPA stance, the monarch re-imposed curfew in Kathmandu and the twin town of Lalitpur, and snapped all the 5.5 million mobile phone connections in the country - barely 10 days after they had been restored.

The King now remains in a state of siege within the Narayanhity Royal Palace, guarded by thousands of Royal Nepal Army soldiers armed with Israeli Galil assault rifles, Ferrell armoured vehicles, tanks and a couple of Chetak helicopters.

There was strong reaction when the government refused to hand over the body of Basu Ghimire, an activist killed at the Kalanki demonstration on Thursday, to his family, and forcible cremated him at Pashupati Aryaghat. Ghimire's family members wanted to cremate the body at his hometown, Makwanpur.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy announced that Nepalis intending to visit the US may apply for visa in New Delhi.
The Embassy had closed its visa services in Kathmandu on April 12.