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King has no future in Nepal: Maoist leader

Exile or execution were the choices facing Nepal's King Gyanendra, leader of Maoists, who have waged a deadly insurgency, said.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2006 14:08 IST

Exile or execution were the choices facing Nepal's King Gyanendra, the leader of Maoist rebels who have waged a deadly decade-long insurgency said in a rare television interview broadcast on Monday.

Within five years, the monarch "will be executed by the people's court or he might be exiled. For the king, today's Nepal has no future," Prachanda said.

"We are not standing in the way of a peaceful solution. It is the king and his royal army," Prachanda said.

Since the Maoists first began their "people's war" with an attack on a police post in mid-west Nepal on February 13, 1996, some 12,500 people have been killed and between 100,000 and 200,000 people displaced within the country.

King Gyanendra sacked the government last year, seized absolute power and promised to end the rebellion that has seen the Maoists take control of large swathes of the country.

Local elections last week as part of what the king has described as his "road map" to restoring democracy were marred by violence and a general strike called by the Maoists.

While the rebels had offered compromises in forming a broad anti-monarchy alliance with Nepal's sidelined political parties last November, there was no leeway when it came to the king, Prachanda told the BBC.

"If you are talking about compromise with the king, we don't see that happening. The only point of compromise is that all political powers in Nepal should be ready to follow the people's wishes," he said.

He blamed Gyanendra for the continuing violence in the Himalayan nation and proposed a state "free from caste, class, regional and gender exploitation."

But he added later in the interview that if the king's position was enshrined in a constitution approved by popular vote, he would respect the "verdict of the people".

Prachanda, 52, was dressed in a smart grey jacket and white shirt for his first televised interview in 25 years.

He denied accusations from rights groups and observers that the Maoists recruit child soldiers.

"In village militias it might be true but in the People's Liberation Army that's not the situation," he said.

The Maoists were prepared to lay down their weapons, but only under specific circumstances, said Prachanda whose real name is Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

"As soon as there is a possibility of preparing a new constitution through a constituent assembly, and form a new army, we are ready to call off the war," he said.

He called for the Royal Nepalese Army to be dismantled and for an international body to supervise the creation of a new national army, which would include the Maoists.

"Both the armies should be monitored by the UN or a similar organization and go to the people, and that later they can be reorganised into a new Nepali army," he said.

First Published: Feb 13, 2006 14:08 IST