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Nepal monarch tells army to fight Maoists

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, April 5, IRNA
King Gyanendra of Nepal asked the Nepalese army to fight against the Maoist violence in the Himalayan Kingdom in his first speech since seizing total power on February 1 this year, reports India's leading newspaper 'The Hindu'.

"Terrorism cannot be an alternative to democracy," he said while addressing new officers in the Royal Nepal Army.

"The alternative to democracy is democracy itself," he said at Kharipati on the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu. The king said, "Terrorism knows no bounds nor any region."
The king is the supreme commander of the Nepalese Army. The monarch said the army had been mobilized to protect the fundamental and constitutional rights of the people of Nepal and control terrorism.

Maoist insurgency in Nepal was launched in 1996. So far it has claimed more than 11,000 lives.

Authorities in Nepal have banned movement on Nepal's roads without armed escorts fearing a blockade of the capital by the armed rebels.

The overnight curfew clamped on some highways has pushed price of goods and food items.

Nepal's Maoists are taking advantage of the weak hold of the state in the country's rural areas. In a recent book by prominent Nepalese writer Manjushri Thapa, Nepal's villages were described as living virtually beyond the realm of the king. The disparate and stepmotherly treatment by the monarchy meted out to the villages has led to large scale exodus of rural people to neighboring India and beyond.

The Maoists are thriving in the rural heartland of Nepal.

::IRNA No.062 05/04/2005 18:19 --End

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