Nepal Maoist rebels put top royalists on hit list

PTI | ByKedar Man Singh (Agence France-Presse), Kathmandu
May 09, 2004 08:14 PM IST

Nepalese Maoist rebels released a hit list of key figures in the absolute monarchy that ended in 1990, amid street protests against the current strongarm tactics of King Gyanendra.

Nepalese Maoist rebels released a hit list of key figures in the absolute monarchy that ended in 1990, amid street protests against the current strongarm tactics of King Gyanendra.

HT Image
HT Image

The Maoist leadership issued a statement saying the rebels over the next eight days would "take action" against "the criminals" who led the bureaucracy during the three decades of royal rule.

The rebels, who are waging a bloody insurgency to overthrow the monarchy, said they would target those named in a report by a commission formed after the restoration of democracy in 1990 to investigate past abuses.

"The rebels have decided to take action for eight days from Sunday against all those listed in the report even though action against the criminals had been dropped," said a statement signed by Maoist leader Prachanda.

The report had named top leaders under the current pro-royal government, including Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa, Home Minister Kamal Thapa and former prime minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand, among 35 people who allegedly abused authority under non-democratic rule.

They escaped prosecution after then-King Birendra took responsibility, saying that any abuses under the former regime were carried out in his name.

In 1990, Birendra agreed to allow an elected parliament and to reduce his role to a constitutional monarch after six weeks of sometimes violent protests led by opposition parties.

King Birendra was killed with nine other members of the royal family in June 2001 when the drunken crown prince opened fire at the palace before shooting himself.

Gyanendra, the late king's younger brother, has taken a more hawkish line, dismissing the elected government in 2002 and appointed a royalist cabinet after accusing democratic leaders of failing the Himalayan kingdom.

The democratic parties and the Maoists are now leading the current protests against Gyanendra, who has continued his tough line by sending the army for the first time to put down the rebellion.

The king has, however, offered talks with the opposition, which demands that he first end all restrictions on their protests and agree in principle to form an all-party government.

The royalist government has restricted demonstrations in Kathmandu since April 8 saying the protests could be infiltrated by the Maoists whose strongholds are in rural areas.

A home ministry official said the government was aware of the Maoist hit list but declined comment on any extra security measures.

More than 150 Maoists launched a nighttime raid early Sunday on a building providing agricultural training in the southeastern Dhanusha district, setting off a bomb and torching 14 government-owned vehicles, police said.

They also bombed an irrigation project, a bridge and a government transportation office in the district, police said.

No one was injured, but a police officer estimated damage at nearly 90 million rupees (1.28 million dollars).

The attacks came before a day-long strike began in the troubled district, called by the Maoists to protest alleged killings of their activists by security forces. The rebels plan a nationwide strike from May 18 to 20.

The insurgency has claimed more than 9,500 lives since 1999.

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