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King misleading the world, say Nepal's leaders

Nation-wide protest over media law

Kathmandu: Senior Nepalese political leaders on Sunday said the statements made by King Gyanendra at the SAARC Summit in Dhaka were ``a ploy'' to confuse the international community.

``In fact, the Palace's non-cooperation was a major hurdle in resolving the Maoist problem before February 1,'' The Kathmandu Post quoted general secretary of the Nepali Congress Ram Chandra Paudyal as saying.

The King has tried to further confuse the international community by talking of elections and justifying his February 1 move, said Mr Paudyal, who was Deputy Prime Minister during the height of the Maoists militancy before the take-over by the King.

``Maoist leaders have revealed their tacit understanding and working alliance with the royal Palace much before,'' he said.

``There is no meaning of talking about democracy, as their working alliance has led to the collapse of democratic system in the country,'' Mr. Paudyal said.

During his address in Dhaka, the King said that the February 1 move was based on ``ground realities'' and was not at the cost of democracy.

Mass protest

Meanwhile, thousands of protesters including journalists, lawyers and operators of non- governmental organisations on Sunday marched opposing the King's fresh crackdown on press through the draconian Media Ordinance and ban on news broadcast by FM stations.

Some 3,000 people marched from Tripureshwor to Nayabaneshwor in Kathmandu and in other parts of the country demanding press freedom, restoration of civil rights and democracy.

The rally came after the Supreme Court rejected a writ petition by various media organisations seeking a stay order against the controversial ordinance. The Government also warned FM radios not to transmit news . President of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) Bishnu Nisthuri told the Kathmandu rally that people from every walk of like were deprived of their right to information after the Government imposed the ordinance. Nepal University Teachers Association president Bhupati Dhakal said the monarch should not hold the two posts head of state and head of Government. He advised the King to start a political party by quitting the throne if he wanted to exercise executive powers. — UNI, PTI

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