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Security stepped up ahead of planned protests

Nepal has asked its citizens to carry their identification cards in public and to be prepared for more security checks and searches.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 15:28 IST

Nepal has asked its citizens in the capital to carry their identification cards in public and to be prepared for more security checks and searches ahead of a planned anti-government rally.

In recent days, the government has been imposing restrictions in an apparent bid to foil a planned rally in Kathmandu on Friday by political parties opposed to the direct rule King Gyanendra imposed on the Himalayan nation last year.

In a notice published in the government newspaper Gorkhapatra on Wednesday, the Home Ministry said the new procedures are part of a plan to improve security arrangements in Kathmandu.

The government has already banned all demonstrations within Kathmandu, saying it had information that terrorist groups were planning to infiltrate such gatherings.

Maoist rebels, however, have denied they have any plans to infiltrate the anti-government rally.

"We want to make it clear that we will not use any force, infiltrate or cause any trouble during the peaceful rally," rebel leader Prachanda said in a statement.

The elusive rebel leader instead urged the general public to take part in the rally.

An alliance of seven large political parties that has organized Friday's rally has been holding demonstrations against the monarchy since Gyanendra sacked an interim government last February 1.

The king argued that previous administrations had failed to curb the growing communist insurgency and clean up corruption.

First Published: Jan 18, 2006 15:28 IST