Nepal’s ex-king says responsibility to people not given up

Kathmandu, Jan 10 (IANS) Nepal’s deposed king Gyanendra Shah on Sunday affirmed that he may have left the throne of his erstwhile kingdom but he had not given up his responsibility to Nepal and the Nepali people.

“I had left the palace not the country. I handed over the possessions of the people and left the palace for national interest and happiness, prosperity and satisfaction of the people,” Shah said in a statement issued here ahead of National Unity Day on January 11.

“But, what all should remember is that I have not left my Nepali home and have not yet given up the responsibility for Nepal and Nepalis.”

National Unity Day was earlier celebrated as Prithvi Jayanti, the birth anniversary of modern Nepal’s unifier King Prithvi Narayan Shah.

Gyanendra, with his wife Komal, vacated the Narayan Hiti royal palace in Kathmandu on June 11, 2008 following a parliamentary decision to abolish the monarchy as part of negotiations with former Maoist rebels to underpin a peace accord.

Successive governments in Nepal have begun nationalising the properties of Gyanendra, and his elder brother king Birendra who was killed in a royal massacre in 2001. A trust is handling and managing the properties of the former royals.

“It is a need of the hour that what kind of responsibility, role and support the Nepali people want, and from whom, be revealed,” Gyanendra said.

On the hardships the people were facing, including inflation, scarcity and foreign dependence, the former ruler said: “Nepali people are struggling hard to manage two square meals a day and live a normal life. It is a matter of serious concern.”

“Whatever wrangles have surfaced in the nation currently regarding rules, geography, governance and administration… it is not good,” he said.

In an oblique reference to the ongoing agitation in the southern plains by the Madhesi community, he urged all citizens to maintain the centuries-old communal harmony.

“The more we… all Nepalis from mountains, hills and plains… can be integrated into this garden (of diversity), the higher our proud existence and independent Nepaliness becomes,” he said in a metaphor propounded by his ancestor Prithvi Narayan Shah.

His statement was met with mixed reactions.

Pro-Hindu and pro-monarch party Rashtriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal said Gyanendra’s statement fits with the wishes of the people.

Party chief whip Dilnath Giri welcomed the statement, saying Gyanendra’s statement reflected what was in people’s minds as well as their frustration.

The main Left parties — CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist — denounced the statement, saying there was no chance of revival of monarchy in Nepal.

CPN-UML secretary Yogesh Bhattarai said the monarchy had earned a bad name for Nepal and it was not wanted by anyone. “We do not see the revival of monarchy due to various reasons.”

Maoist leader Lilamani Pokhrel said political parties should take action against Gyanendra “so that he does not raise his head time and again”.

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