M A I N   N E W S

Restore democracy, India tells Nepal
Nepalese leaders warn King
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 14
The Indian Ambassador in Nepal, Mr Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, briefed External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh this evening about the latest ground situation in the Hindu Kingdom.

At the meeting, Mr Mukherjee is understood to have conveyed to Mr Natwar Singh that India was working in perfect synergy with the United States and the United Kingdom — two other most important influences in Nepal after India — in exerting pressure on King Gyanendra to restore democracy in the country.

Mr Mukherjee also gave details to the minister about his last week’s meeting with King Gyanendra wherein he had categorically told the King that India did not approve of his royal coup.

The Ambassador also briefed Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran separately.

Wetsern diplomatic sources told this correspondent today that Washington, London and New Delhi were working in tandem in pressuring the King to hark back to the multi-party democracy system. These sources expressed confidence that the tripartite pressures would produce results “sooner rather than later” because Nepal could not afford to ignore these three most important donor countries.

“We (Anglo-Americans) are in close touch with India and are coordinating our strategies and actions because we don’t approve of King Gyanendra’s actions,” a senior western diplomat said.

In another development, Nepal’s Ambassador here, Mr Karna Dhoj Adhikari, was received by Mr Natwar Singh in his South Block office for a brief meeting which took place at Mr Adhikari’s request.

During this meeting, Mr Natwar Singh, conveyed New Delhi’s official position on King Gyanendra’s dismissal of the multi-party government of Prime Minister Deuba.

The minister also conveyed that it would be desirable that immediate steps are taken towards the release of political leaders, journalists and human rights activists; freedom of media is restored; and multi-party democracy is reinstated, foreign office spokesman said. Mr Natwar Singh also emphasised that India wished to see a stable, peaceful and prosperous Nepal.

Meanwhile, six political leaders of Nepal belonging to as many political parties, jointly addressed a press conference at Foreign Correspondents’ Club where they openly admitted differences within their own ranks.

However, the Nepalese leaders rang a warning bell for the King when they categorically stated: “We will not allow the King to rule as an absolute Monarch. The military rule is getting brutal every hour and human rights activists are also being suppressed and jailed ruthlessly.”

In response to a question from this correspondent whether they planned to join hands with the Maoists against the constitutional monarchy, they said they were in the process of first setting their own house in order. After this is done, then only they could think of talking to the Maoists.

Mr Pradeep Giri of the Nepali Congress (D) later told this correspondent that he did visualise a scenario in future when political parties and Maoists would work together for the restoration of multi-party democracy.

The six Nepalese leaders who addressed the press conference also issued a joint statement signed by them. The signatories to the joint statement were : Chitra Bahadur KC (NCP-Masal), Sujata Koirala (Nepali Congress), Gobind Prasad Koirala (NCP-UML), Rajendra Mahato (NSP-A), Chandra Dev Joshi (NCP United) and Pradeep Giri (Nepali Congress—D).

In the joint statement, the Nepalese leaders accused King Gyanendra of “murdering” democracy and the constitution of Nepal. “Today in Nepal political leaders have been arrested and persecuted, press-ownership is clamped, civil rights are abrogated. The military rule is getting brutal every hour and human rights activists are also being suppressed and jailed ruthlessly,” the statement said.

It also appealed to the international community, particularly India, on two counts: not to be seen as strengthening the military hand of King Gyanendra and to support the persecuted journalists in Nepal.

EU states recall envoys from Nepal

Paris, February 14
The European Union member states have recalled their ambassadors from Kathmandu for consultations following the king’s power grab there, a French foreign ministry spokesman said today. — AFP

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