Tuesday, February 01, 2005

NEPAL: King Takes over, Emergency Declared, Airport closed 01FEB [ 8 NEWS CLIPPINGS]

HEADLINES IN CLIPPINGS

01. Nepal's King Gyanendra takes charge after dismissing government
02. State of emergency declared
03. Nepal king dimisses government, declares emergency
04. Nepal king sacks government, assumes power
05. Flights turn back as Nepal shuts main airport
06. Nepal's King denies 'coup'
07. India voices concern over political developments in Nepal
08. Emergency Nepal's internal affair: China
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01/02/2005

01. Nepal's King Gyanendra takes charge after dismissing government
Sunil Vyas

In one of its sensational move, Nepal's King Gyanendra Tuesday said he
has dissolved the coalition government and taken charge of Nepal amid
a bloody Maoist insurgency.

"I have decided to dissolve the government because it has failed to
make necessary arrangements to hold elections by April and protect
democracy, the sovereignty of the people and life and property," said
King Gyanendra in a televised address.

"I have exercised the rights given to the crown under the present
constitution and dissolved the government for the larger interests of
the people, country and protection of sovereignty," the 63-year old
king said.

"A new Cabinet will be formed under my leadership. This will restore
peace and effective democracy in this country within the next three
years," the king assured.

Several important political leaders including members of the Nepal
Communist Party-United Marxist and Leninist, a key partner in the
former coalition government, were put under house arrest, party
sources said.

The king accused political parties of indulging in 'factional fighting'.

"In fact all the democratic forces and political leaders should have
united to protect the country's democracy, national sovereignty,
people's life and property and also protect the country's economic
infrastructure," the king told the nation in more than half an hour
long interview.

"Innocent children were found massacred and the government could not
achieve any important and effective results. The crown traditionally
is held responsible for the protection of national sovereignty,
democracy and also people's right to live peacefully. It is the duty
of the crown to protect all these segments of society," he reiterated.

The king maintained that the Deuba government had failed to protect
democracy and sovereignty of the people. King Gyanendra had appointed
Deuba as Prime minister last year and asked him to conduct
parliamentary elections and hold peace talks with the Maoist rebels.

Earlier, the King had sacked Deuba in 2002 for failing to hold
elections, but asked him to form the government last year as the
rebels stepped up insurgency in the Himalayan kingdom.

Meanwhile, security was beefed up at key locations in Kathmandu soon
after the speech was telecast. Security forces were stationed in front
of government establishments and buildings, post offices,
telecommunications centres and the state bank, witnesses said.

The insurgency has so far claimed more than 11,000-lives in the Himalayan state.

LINK
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/1449.html

01/02/2005

02. State of emergency declared
From correspondents in Kathmandu


NEPAL's King Gyanendra has declared a state of emergency after
dismissing the government and taking charge of the country, which is
fighting a Maoist insurgency, state media announced.

"A state of emergency has been enforced across the country,"
suspending all fundamental rights of citizens, state run radio and
television said.

Political leaders accused the king of staging a coup.

"I have exercised the rights given to the crown under the present
constitution and dissolved the government in the larger interests of
the people," the king said in an address on nationwide television.

King Gyanendra, who sacked Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba for the
second time in two years, said he would head the new government and
form a council of ministers.

He promised to "restore democracy and law and order in the country in
the next three years".

"For the larger interest of the Nepalese general public, the nation
and democracy and people's fundamental rights, we have decided to form
a new government under my own chairmanship."

Opposition leaders said King Gyanendra, who ascended the throne after
a palace massacre in 2001, had staged a new coup.

Residents of Kathmandu, reached by telephone said outgoing landline
telephone and mobile phone links had been cut.

"The king has staged a coup and taken over the country's
administration and other powers into his own hands," Sujata Koirala,
leader of the women's wing of the Nepali Congress and daughter of a
former prime minister, said.

The King also had Kathmandu's airport shut down, and flights to Nepal
were turned back, airline officials said. "We are told that Kathmandu
is shut down today due to a general strike after the king fired the
government," an official of state-run Indian Airlines said.

It was not immediately known when air links would be restored.

Of four daily flights between New Delhi and Kathmandu, operated by
different airlines, three were not allowed to land while the fourth,
leaving later in the day, was cancelled.

Road links between India and landlocked Nepal were, however, open, an
Indian customs official said.

"The border is open. Trade is taking place and there is movement of
people," a customs inspector said from the border town of Jogbani in
the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

"So far there is no problem. Everything looks normal."

Troops and armed police patrolled the streets of Kathmandu and
surrounded the palace and other key sites such as government
buildings.

State radio said the king had suspended some articles of the 1991
constitution but did not say which.

Several key leaders including those of the Nepal Communist
Party-United Marxist and Leninist, the main partners in the former
coalition government, were under house arrest, party sources said.

Security forces were barring entry to Mr Deuba's residence, witnesses said.

The king accused political parties of "indulging in factional fighting".

"All the democratic forces and political leaders should have united to
protect the country's democracy," King Gyanendra said in his half-hour
speech.

"Innocent children were found massacred and the government could not
achieve any important and effective results.

"The crown traditionally is held responsible for the protection of
national sovereignty, democracy and people's right to live
peacefully."

The king summoned Mr Deuba last night to discuss the "law-and-order
situation and the proposed elections", a former cabinet minister and
Deuba confidant said.

Mr Deuba had promised to hold long-postponed elections after the
rebels, fighting to topple the monarchy and set up a communist
republic, failed to respond to his mid-January ultimatum to agree to
peace talks.

But he had not set a date and his coalition partners opposed holding
elections before negotiations resumed with the rebels, who had vowed
to sabotage the polls.

The Maoist conflict which has claimed more than 11,000 lives since
1996, has become increasingly bloody in the past couple of years.

The king first sacked Mr Deuba in 2002 and branded him incompetent for
failing to hold elections and fight the Maoist revolt. He also
dissolved the parliament.

But King Gyanendra recalled the veteran politician last year, ordering
him to hold elections and resume talks with Maoists after
international and domestic pressure grew on him to restore democracy.

Last week, the king of nearby Bhutan warned of a "real threat" that
the Maoist revolt in Nepal could escalate out of control with negative
implications India and his own tiny Himalayan kingdom.

"We sincerely hope ... some initiatives will be taken by the political
parties in Nepal to resolve the Maoist problem," King Jigme Singye
Wangchuk said.

Gyanendra became king in June 2001 after his brother King Birendra and
most of the royal family were shot dead by the former crown prince,
who was high on drink and drugs.

The crown prince also killed himself.

LINK
http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,12115029%255E401,00.html

01/02/2005

03. Nepal king dimisses government, declares emergency

Kathmandu, Feb. 1. (PTI): Nepal today plunged into a political crisis
after King Gyanendra dismissed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba
government accusing it of "failing to protect democracy" and declared
a state of emergency in the country.

Armoured vehicles with mounted machine guns patrolled the capital and
security was beefed up. Plainclothesmen have been stationed at
government offices and at residences of several political leaders.

There were unconfirmed reports that political leaders, including those
from Nepal Communist Party United Marxist and Leninist, a key ally in
the Deuba coalition government were put under house arrest. Phone
lines in the capital were shut down.

The king, in a televised address, declared that a new government would
be formed under his leadership that "will restore peace and effective
democracy in this country within the next three years."

"I have decided to dissolve the government because it has failed to
make necessary arrangements to hold elections by April and protect
democracy, the sovereignty of the people and life and property," the
king said announcing the dismissal of the Deuba government installed
by him last year. This is the second time in three years that the king
has dissolved the government.

"For the larger interest of the Nepalese general public, the nation
and democracy and people's fundamentals rights, we have decided to
form a new government under my own chairmanship," the king said.

Later, the state-run TV reported that a state of emergency has been
declared in the Himalyan Kingdom.

LINK
http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/000200502011301.htm

01/02/2005

04. Nepal king sacks government, assumes power
(Reuters)

KATHMANDU - Nepali King Gyanendra sacked the government and assumed
power himself on Tuesday, saying the leadership had failed to hold
elections or restore peace amid an escalating civil war with Maoist
rebels.

Indian television channel NDTV said the king had taken power for the
next three years and placed many politicians under house arrest.

?I have decided to dissolve the government because it has failed to
make necessary arrangements to hold elections by April and promote
democracy, the sovereignty of the people and life and property,? the
king said in an address on state radio.

Shortly afterwards telephone and mobile lines were apparently shut
down in Kathmandu and communications links closed between the country
and the rest of the world.

No further details were available.

The strategic Himalayan nation sandwiched between India and China is
locked in a bitter three-way struggle among the king, the Maoist
rebels and political parties who are often bitterly divided amongst
themselves.

The king is often accused of overstepping his powers, and reappointed
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba only last June, two years after
sacking him for the same reasons he cited this time - inability to
tackle the long-standing revolt against the monarchy and failure to
call an election.

In January, Deuba had promised to go ahead with the election despite
the civil war and the refusal of the Maoists to come to peace talks by
a Jan. 13 deadline.

But many members of Deuba?s own cabinet were known to be unhappy with
the election plan on grounds it was unrealistic in a country where the
rebels control much of the countryside.

The rebels have been fighting since 1996 to replace the monarchy with
a communist republic in a revolt that has cost around 11,000 lives.

The king himself had promised that elections would begin by the start
of the Nepali new year in mid-April. Indian television said he accused
political parties of factional fighting.

This is the fourth time the king has sacked a prime minister in less
than three years. Nepal has had no parliament since 2002.

Nepal is one of the world?s poorest nations and its only Hindu
kingdom. Many people still view the king as a reincarnation of the god
Vishnu.

But the monarchy?s reputation nosedived in 2001 when the crown prince,
Dipendra, killed his father, the popular King Birendra, and several
other royals in a palace massacre. He then turned the gun on himself.

Gyanendra was crowned king after the massacre, but has never been as
popular as his brother Birendra.

Tens of thousands of tourists visit Nepal each year as it has eight of
the world?s 14 highest mountains, including Mount Everest.

LINK
http://khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/subcontinent/2005/February/subcontinent_February29.xml§ion=subcontinent&col=

01/02/2005

05. Flights turn back as Nepal shuts main airport

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - International flights to Nepal were turned back
on Tuesday as the airport in the capital Kathmandu was closed after
King Gyanendra sacked the government and assumed power, airline
officials said.

Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport was apparently shut down,
along with telephone and mobile phone networks in the Himalayan
country, largely cutting it off from the rest of the world.

"We are told that Kathmandu is shut down today due to a general strike
after the king fired the government," an official of state-run Indian
Airlines told Reuters.

It was not immediately known when air links would be restored. Of four
daily flights between New Delhi and Kathmandu, operated by different
airlines, three were not allowed to land while the fourth, leaving
later in the day, was cancelled.

"Our aircraft returned and all our flights to Kathmandu are cancelled
until further notice," the Indian Airlines official said.

Officials at private Indian carriers Jet Airways and Air Sahara also
said their aircraft were turned back after they had taken off from New
Delhi for Kathmandu.

A Thai Airways official in New Delhi said its flight from Bangkok to
Kathmandu had also gone back to the Thai capital without landing in
Kathmandu.

Road links between India and landlocked Nepal were, however, open, an
Indian customs official said.

"The border is open. Trade is taking place and there is movement of
people," a customs inspector told Reuters by telephone from the border
town of Jogbani in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

"So far there is no problem. Everything looks normal."

Gyanendra sacked Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's government saying
it had failed to hold long-delayed elections or restore peace amid an
escalating civil war with Maoist rebels.

(Additional reporting by Surojit Gupta in NEW DELHI)

LINK
http://www.reuters.com/locales/c_newsArticle.jsp?type=topNews&localeKey=en_IN&storyID=7495447

01/02/2005

06. Nepal's King denies 'coup'

King Gyanendra dismissed Nepal's government today and declared a state
of emergency, taking control of the Himalayan kingdom for the second
time in three years.

He denied his takeover was a coup, although soldiers surrounded the
houses of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other government
leaders.

"We will oppose this step," said Deuba, who was not allowed to leave his home.

Armoured military vehicles with mounted machine guns were patrolling
the streets of Kathmandu, the capital, and phone lines in the city had
been cut.

Airlines reported that the Kathmandu airport had been closed to
flights. Long lines quickly formed at grocery stores and petrol
stations, as worried residents stocked up on supplies.

"We are so confused. We don't know what is going on or what will
happen," said Narayan Thapa, a government worker in Kathmandu. "I am
worried I can't reach my family on the phone."

In an announcement on state-run television, the king accused the
government of failing to conduct parliamentary elections and being
unable to restore peace in the country, which is beset by rebel
violence.

"A new Cabinet will be formed under my leadership," he said, accusing
political parties of plunging the country into crisis. "This will
restore peace and effective democracy in this country within the next
three years."

Later, state-run television reported that a state of emergency had
been declared.

The monarch, who is also the supreme commander of the 78,000-member
Royal Nepalese Army, said security forces would be given more power to
maintain law and order. But he insisted human rights would be
respected.

Deuba was also fired as prime minister in October 2002, sparking mass
street protests demanding the restoration of a democratically elected
government.

The king reinstated Deuba last year with the task of holding
parliamentary elections by March 2005 and conducting peace talks with
the Maoist rebels.

Nepal has been in turmoil since Gyanendra, 55, suddenly assumed the
crown in 2001 after his brother, King Birendra, was gunned down in a
palace massacre apparently committed by Birendra's son, the crown
prince, who also died. Ten members of the royal family were killed.

Riots shook Kathmandu after the killings. Soon after, fighting
intensified between government forces and the rebels, who control
large parts of Nepal's countryside.

The rebels, who draw inspiration from the late Chinese revolutionary
leader Mao Zedong, have been trying since 1996 to overthrow the
government and establish a socialist state. They have refused the
government's invitation to come into the mainstream of Nepalese
politics and end the violence.

More than 10,500 people have died since the fighting began.

Democracy and royalty have long had a difficult relationship in Nepal.

Gyanendra's late father, King Mahendra, established a rubber-stamp
government and parliament but retained absolute power and outlawed
political parties. The absolute monarchy ended when street
demonstrations forced the king to give way to a multiparty government
in 1990.


LINK
http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0700world/tm_objectid=15139822%26method=full%26siteid=50082%26headline=nepal%2ds%2dking%2ddenies%2d%2dcoup%2d-name_page.html

01/02/2005

07. India voices concern over political developments in Nepal

NEW DELHI: Voicing grave concern over the political developments in
Nepal, India on Tuesday said it has brought the monarchy and
mainstream political parties in direct confrontation with each other
and warned that it would only benefit forces that wish to undermine
democracy.

"We will continue to support the restoration of political stability
and economic prosperity in Nepal, a process which requires reliance on
the forces of democracy and the support of the people of Nepal," the
External Affairs Ministry said in a statement here.

In an hour-long meeting, External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh
briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the political crisis in
Nepal. Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran spoke to India's Ambassador in
Kathmandu S S Mukherjee to get an update on the developments.

"The King of Nepal has dissolved the multi-party government led by
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and has decided to constitute a
Council of Ministers under his own chairmanship. An emergency has been
declared and fundamental rights have been suspended.

"These developments constitute a serious setback to the cause of
democracy in Nepal and cannot but be a cause of grave concern to
India," the MEA statement said.

It said the latest developments "bring the monarchy and mainstream
political parties in direct confrontation with each other. This can
only benefit the forces that not only wish to undermine democracy but
the institution of monarchy as well".

On reports that several political leaders in Nepal have been confined
to their residences, New Delhi said "the safety and welfare of the
political leaders must be ensured and political parties must be
allowed to exercise all the rights enjoyed by them under the
constitution".

India has consistently supported multi-party democracy and
constitutional monarchy enshrined in Nepal's constitution as the two
pillars of political stability in the Himalayan Kingdom.

"This Principle has now been violated with the king forming a
government under his chairmanship," the MEA said in the
strongly-worded statement.

"We have always considered that in Nepal it is imperative to evolve a
broad National consensus, particularly between the monarchy and
political parties, to deal with the political and economic challenges
facing the country," it said.

India has a longstanding and unique relationship with Nepal, with
which it shared an open border, a history of strong cultural and
spiritual values and wide-ranging economic and commercial links.

LINK
http://www.newindpress.com/Newsitems.asp?ID=IEL20050201060222&Title=B+R+E+A+K+I+N+G++++N+E+W+S&Topic=0


08. Emergency Nepal's internal affair: China


BEIJING: China on Tuesday declined to comment on the Nepali King's
decision to sack the Prime Minister and take over the government,
saying it was an "internal affair" but hoped that the Himalayan
kingdom would attain national reconciliation.

"As far as we are concerned, it is Nepal's internal affairs," Chinese
Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told reporters when asked to
comment on the unexpected political developments in the neighbouring
country.

"Nepal is a close and friendly neighbour of China. We hope that Nepal
will achieve social stability, economic development and national
reconciliation. Given the current situation, we respect the Nepalese
people's choice of the road of development," Kong added.

Nepali King Gyanendra announced on Tuesday in an address to the nation
that he had dissolved the coalition government led by Prime Minister
Sher Bahadur Deuba.

The King announced through the state-run television that he will form
a new government under his own chairmanship, taking control of the
Himalayan kingdom for the second time in three years.

While declaring a state of emergency, the king accused the government
of failing to conduct parliamentary elections and being unable restore
peace in the country, Xinhua news agency reported from Kathmandu.

LINK
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1007461.cms