12/15/2010, 00.00
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Former crown prince arrested, Hindu fundamentalists protest

by Kalpit Parajuli
Paras Shah is charged with shooting in the air during an altercation with the adopted son of former Prime Minister Sujata Koirala. Hundreds of people protest across the country, some in favour, others against the monarchy.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Nepali police announced the arrest of the country’s former crown prince, Paras Shah, for illegal use of weapons. The decision provoked protests by Hindu fundamentalists across the country.

Paras Shah was arrested on Saturday at a resort in Chitwan (northwestern Nepal) after an altercation with the son of former Prime Minister Sujata Koirala in which he fired an unregistered weapon.

Pro-monarchist groups immediately took to the streets to protest the arrest. Hundreds of people, led by Hindu fundamentalists, protested in the city of Pokhara, where the prince lives, and in Chitawan.

Extremists also insulted Nepal’s national flag and shouted slogans against the government and political parties. Counter-demonstrators shouted slogans and insults against Shah and the monarchy.

Paras Shah is the son of King Gyanendra, the last sovereign of Nepal who was deposed in 2006. For the past two years, he has been involved in an attempt to rehabilitate the monarchy in the eyes of public opinion by taking part in public rallies and conferences in a country reeling from a year and half of economic and political stalemate.

In their announcement, police said that Prince Shah would remain in jail for three days for interrogation.

Under the old monarchist regime, the king and his immediate family were considered divinities. This is the first time that a member of the former royal family is arrested and put in prison.

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