As SPA leaders are trying to save monarchy in Kathmandu, a strong message comes from Pokhara this afternoon.
What happened in Pokhara is surely an indication of the days ahead. Pro-republican students attacked a meeting of pro-royalists this afternoon. These students were not from one party as many would like to believe: they were from Nepali Congress, CPN UML and CPN Maoist. Rastriya Prajantra Party Nepal, breakaway ultra-royalist faction of RPP, was formed by people like Kamal Thapa, at the height of autocracy, when they were in power and in the royal cabinet headed by Gyanendra Shah. After the April Revolution, the leadership of the faction was handed over to Rabindranath Sharma who recently said that continuity of monarchy was necessary in Nepal. Sharma also appealed Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to lead a Democratic Alliance against the possible Republic Front by the communists. Sharma was in the process of brining together royalists under his party’s banner and was holding a regional meeting of his group in Pokhara. Furious students spontaneously intervened the meeting, attacked the participants of the meeting as helpless police watched. Royalists, including Sharma, fled the venue. The incident can not be welcomed as such because in democracy even its enemy has the right to conspire against it. BUT the event is a clear signal that the popular uprising that was started in April hasn’t quite yet finished. The main slogan of the uprising (in April and other previous protests) was this: “Gyane Chor Desh Chod” (Thief Gyanendra, leave the country) followed by “Down with monarchy”. The reality is that Gyanendra is still enjoying inside the high walls of Narayanhitty with OUR money.
The timing of the Pokhara incident is worth noting. This has come exactly on the day when the government and Maoist negotiator failed to agree on the status of monarchy: government is struggling to provide some sort of space to the same Gyanendra Shah against whom people fought and died in April. Maoists want to declare Prime Minister or the Speaker of the House as the head of state but the government wants to keep quite on the issue (that is to say, continue accepting Gyanendra head of the state.) That is clearly against the spirit of popular uprising and its mandate. That is also against the basic principles of law and order. Gyanendra has been found guilty in suppressing the popular movement and to continue him as the head of the state would mean this government wants to give prize to a guilty instead of punishing him. To continue Gyanendra, a guilty, as the head of state is no different than releasing all the convicted killers from jail.
We must keep in mind that the situation in Nepal is still volatile, people can hit the streets any time against anyone who is trying to save monarchy and a final struggle against the feudal institution can be launched any time if the leadership in the government fails to act as per the mandate of the April revolution. It’s not just about Girija Prasad Koirala who is in favor of continuing monarchy but the stand of CPN UML leadership is also dubious. If they really want to do what they are promising to people publicly (they are for republican), this is high time that they left the government and exert pressure on Koirala and other forces that be. Take another example of what the public wants. Just today, influential young leaders of Nepali Congress, the party of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala who seems to be trying to save monarchy, came together to say that the nation was now heading for republic. They include Gururaj Ghimire, Dhanaraj Gurung and Gagan Thapa, all former leaders of Nepal Student Union. The youth voice is clear, Nepal should not be made the hostage in the name of providing job to one person called Gyanendra Shah. -By Wagle