02/14/2006, 00.00
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National culture refutes Maoist violence

by Prakash Dubey

Negative feedback has greeted the rebel leader's statements against the king. And the Supreme Court has released the former premier, detained since July.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Statements made yesterday by the Maoist rebels have not been well received. Meanwhile, the former prime minister has been released.

King Gyanendra "must leave the country", said Prachanda, leader of the Maoist rebels, in an interview broadcast on 12 February, the tenth anniversary of the revolt. Or else, added the leader, the king should stand trial in a people's court.

"This statement is preposterous in the backdrop of the recent emerging political scenario of the country when a milieu of dialogue is being built up among all political forces," Ravikant Mishra, a human rights activist and political scientist told AsiaNews. In November, the Maoist rebels and a coalition of political parties which oppose absolute power for the monarchy reached an agreement regarding pluralistic democracy, a referendum about the monarchy and the renunciation of violence. At the beginning of the month, Prachanda said in another interview that he was willing to dialogue with the king to resolve the crisis gripping the country that had claimed some 13,000 lives.

"But all of a sudden Prachanda has changed his stand like a chameleon and is demanding that the king face exile or execution. This is inauspicious for peace in the country and could precipitate worst violence," added Mishra.

"Prachanda must not forget that the Nepalese culture is rooted in non-violence despite the ongoing spate of killings and bloodshed unleashed by both army and

Maoists," said Norbert Rai, a lawyer in eastern Nepal. "Our law does not provide for execution or capital punishment even for an ordinary man, let alone the king whom Nepalese people consider as divine." Such statements, he continued, could only "reinforce the people's conviction that the Maoists have a culture of violence and blood and they cannot become heralds of peace in the country". "People want peace and reconciliation" and these statements "will only alienate the people from the Maoists and political parties allied with them".

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court yesterday released Sher Bahadur Deuba, the former prime minister and declared "invalid" the order for his arrest – indicated by the king – under which he had been detained since July on corruption charges. Deuba was removed from his post in February 2005, when the king seized direct power.

An official from Deuba's party, Dip Kumar Upadhaya, said: "This is a victory for democracy and a humiliating defeat for the royal regime."

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Maoist Premier fires general. The President defends him
Nepal, proclamation of Republic still awaited
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