Nepal in 2006: From Gyanendra to Girija

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In January 2006, King Gyanendra was both head of state and head of government. The democrats were pushed to a corner and were struggling for their existence. One year down the line, now, the one who led the fight against king Gyanendra’s rule, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala exercises both. And, surprisingly, King Gyanendra, back in the royal palace, is silently fighting for his existence.

Just a year ago, the palace was the center of power and the political parties were engaged in chalking out strategies to bring power back to Singha Durbar and cut the monarchy to size. The royal palace officials were running out of time in scheduling the king’s visits to different parts of the country. The king was seen, in military fatigues, walking through streets in various districts and receiving flowers from the people during those visits, thus trying to consolidate his power.

Just a couple of days before the king’s visit to eastern Nepal in 2006, Kathmandu valley had witnessed bus-loads of people chanting slogans on the occasion of Crown Prince Paras’ 35th birthday. The king’s government had announced national holiday for the day. One year after, not only the crown prince’s but also the king and queen’s birthdays passed largely unnoticed. The democratic government scrapped the provision of national holidays on royal birthdays.

Now, power has been remarkably transferred to Singha Durbar. The political parties and civil society members are still engaged in a hot debate. Surprisingly, the debate is not to bring the monarchy to size but to completely eliminate the institution.

The April movement, intensified by seven political parties, following a 12-point agreement, signed with CPN-Maoists (then state-declared terrorists), ended not only the over-a-year direct rule of the king, but also stripped the monarch of all power.

The House of Representatives, through a proclamation on May 18, stripped the king off all powers and privileges he enjoyed. To further accelerate peoples’ expectations and discourage regressive forces, the democratic government formed a high-level probe commission under the chairmanship of Krishna Jung Rayamajhi, former Supreme Court justice to investigate the April atrocities.

However, the government is yet to implement the report submitted by the Rayamajhi Commission. Similarly, the democratic government has formulated, the soon to be introduced, new constitution. The interim constitution has further cut off the king’s ceremonial authority. And the political situation is back in stable gear.

On the economic front, 2006 saw a whopping erosion in the credibility of the private sector. The unconditional support extended by apex bodies of the private sector to the totalitarian regime badly exposed its undemocratic attitude.

The private sector, not only half-heartily welcomed the successful April uprising, but it became the first institution to call for a banda in the post April revolution period. In addition, its backing for willful bank defaulters was enough for common people to realize how some leaders of the private sector aimed to become wealthy. The government’s decision in December to seize passports of the defaulters will be remembered as a major landmark in Nepal’s economic reform history.

The year ahead is going to be far more momentous as the country is going to see the CA polls scheduled for mid-June, which will decide the fate of the 238-year-old monarchy. And, this is the year when the achievements of the April movement will be institutionalized in a complete sense.

2006 in retrospect

January 2: Maoists break 4-month old unilateral truce : Multiple blasts in capital, Thankot, Dadhikot post attacked, 12 cops killed

January 16: Royal government bans demonstration inside ring road ahead of SPA called showdown on January 20, curfew clamped in several districts

January 21: Famous singer Tara Devi passes away

February 8: Government holds controversial municipal polls; SPA and most other parties boycott

February 18: Nepali U-19 cricket team wins Plate Championship of ICC U-19 World Cup beating New Zealand in the final in Colombo.

March 1: 12 security men, 18 rebels killed Palpa attack

March 20: 13 soldiers and 1 rebel killed in Kavre clash

March 21: At least 24 Maoists, 10 security men and a civilian killed in Maoist attack at Birtamod, Dhading and Dharan

March 21: CPN-UML general secretary detained at Nagarkot and slapped 90-day detention

March 31: Nepal-India transit treaty renewed

April 2: Maoists announce suspension of violence in Kathmandu valley ahead of SPA protests

April 6: Maoists raid Malangawa, district headquarters of Sarlahi, 13 killed, NA chopper ‘gunned down’; another raid in Butwal.

April 6-24: Popular Janaandolan-II with SPA general strikes and Maoist blockades; clashes between police and protestors and mass defiance of curfews, king’s offer to appoint SPA Prime Minister rejected (21 April); King capitulates power and reinstates parliament on April 24.

April 26: Girija Prasad Koirala takes oath as new Prime Minister; Maoists announce three-month long unilateral ceasefire; Nepali U-14 football team declared best team of AFC U-14 Festival of Football held in Islamabad after finishing unbeaten in the event.

April 28: HoR convened after nearly 4 years, registers CA poll motion

May 2: Seven-member cabinet formed

May 3: Government declares indefinite ceasefire, annuls controversial municipal poll

May 9: Three-wheeler accident in Jhumka of Sunsari district claims 13 kids

May 18: Parliamentary proclamation asserts sovereignty and curtails all powers of king; decides to change in nomenclature of His Majesty’s Government to “Nepal Government” and Royal

Nepal Army to “Nepali Army” henceforth.

May 26: Maoists and government agree on 25-point code of conduct

June 6: PM goes on 4-day India visit and returns with Rs 15 billion package

June 8: Nepali U-15 cricket team wins the ACC U-15 Cup Two-day Cricket Tournament (Elite Group) held in Malaysia.

June 16: The first public appearance of Maoist chairman Prachanda in Kathmandu at meeting with SPA leaders to sign 8-point agreement

July 2: Government unilaterally writes to UN secretary general Kofi Annan proposing decommissioning of Maoist arms.

July 12: Government announces $ 2 billion budget for fiscal year 2006-2007; Royal palace budget cut down by 70 pc

July 24: Maoists write separately to UN protesting reference to ‘decommissioning’; serious loss of trust between government and Maoists

July 27-3 August: UN assessment mission visits Nepal

July 28: Maoists extend ceasefire by three months.

July 13: Landslide sweeps away a village at Nepane VDC-5, Kaski district, leaving dozens of people dead

July 23: At least 23 killed and 31 others injured in a bus accident at Chanaute area of Sindhupalchowk district

July 31: Dr Sanduk Ruit of Tilganga Eye Hospital announced one of the winners of 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award

August 9: Government and Maoists send identical 5-point letters to UN.

August 25: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appoints Ian Martin as his personal representative to assist the peace process in Nepal

August 26: Chhaya Devi, 86, an icon of Janaandolan II, passes away.

August: Nepal wins nine gold medals in the 10th South Asian Games held in Colombo.

September 23: A 9N-AHJ helicopter hired by WWF, Nepal, crashes in Ghunsa area of remote Taplejung district, leaving all 24 on board including government minister and senior conservationists dead.

September 23: Sitting MP Krishna Charan Shrestha shot dead by cadres of Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha, a splinter of Maoists in Siraha district

September 28: HoR passes Army Act increasing democratic control

October 28: 42 killed in Salyan bus plunge

October 29: Maoists extend ceasefire by another three months

October 31: Indian ambassador Shiv Shanker Mukherjee holds first meeting with Maoist leaders; government announces it will take SLC exam from only grade X syllabus.

November 8: Peace talks culminate in historic agreement, resolves some disputes over arms management and interim constitution

November 17: Metropolitan Police launched in Kathmandu valley

November 20: High Level Probe Commission headed by Krishna Jung Rayamajhi submits report recommending action against 202 people including King Gyanendra; government forms implementation committee on November 27.

November 21: Government and Maoists sign Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) formally declaring the end of the decade long war.

December 1: UN Security Council welcomes CPA, approves advance deployment of monitors and sends full assessment mission; deadline for formation of interim government missed.

December 16: Interim constitution finalized

December: Nepal wins three bronze medals in the 15th Asian Games held in Doha, Qatar.

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15 thoughts on “Nepal in 2006: From Gyanendra to Girija”

  1. Noname, the royalist bug, I can understand why you are yawning by this article. The Year 2006 was golden year in the history of Nepal, people of Nepal wrested power from the autocrat king Gyanendra. Sovereignty has been restored back to Nepalese people and tyrant has been confined inside the Narayanhitti. This year, in 2007, people will bring the remnant of tyranny outside Narayanhitti and send him to hell. They will do all this through the democratic process, through the election of constituent assembly. The main aim of Nepal in 2007 would be to elect the CA and institutionalize democracy.

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  2. “The year ahead is going to be far more momentous as the country is going to see the CA polls scheduled for mid-June, which will decide the fate of the 238-year-old monarchy.”
    True! And this year will also decide the fate of political parties with more than 45 years of experience, 12 years of insurgency, 16 years of what was also known as “democracy”.

    “And, this is the year when the achievements of the April movement will be institutionalized in a complete sense.”
    Ideally, YES!! However, going by how the SPA and the Maoists are (mis)behaving, we will definitely see many changes but will any or all of them actually help institutionalize the achievement of the April movement is now debatable. We are getting some very dangerous signs like the Maoists not allowing to re-establish the police posts, likes of Sushil Koirala walking away with 6.3 million of tax payers money in the name of medical treatment, the Rayamajhi report not being made public, a popular public debate program being stopped from being aired in NTV after it started questioning the government’s way of working, delay in arms management, unrealistic goal of having the CA so soon, NRNs being deprived of polling rights and the list goes on. I hope that the SPA and M can get their act together, keep the auticratic monarchy at bay and let the people enjoy the fruits of they hard work during April revolution. It is time for them to get honest and try and ACT rather than just give speeches and milk the countries monies indisciminately.

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  3. Can someone please explain why the Maoists should dismantle their goverenment and let the police into their territory before they are in the government? When exaclty did they agree to do that?

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  4. Neil, you cannot have a democratic process ie election without security, and when there is no security in the rural areas, how can anyone vote to anyone else other than the Maosist. If they try, Maoists may rape their women, kill them or take the children away. DEMOCRACY requires security of the population that can then make free choices. Maoists have no right to dismantle the police.

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  5. Democracy=should allow any political view even if it is staunch royalist to exist. I cannot believe that some people here talk about democracy and then calls any political party that has different political view a REGRESSIVE FORCE. Why the hell is it regressive, if you have your views on supporting the Maoists why can there not be one in support of the King ? After all is this not what democracy is all about. And if the Maoist parties can do what they feel like including beating up people so will those that do not support their political views.

    SPA idiots now realize the difficulty of holding elections without police presence in the posts. It is guaranteed that Maosist will win the elections in almost all rural regions at Gunpoint. This will not be a democratic election although the Maoists will insist it is, it is definitely not. When there is no security in the country, including the security of those who oppose the Maoists for example the royalists, then how can their be just and fair election ? SPA leaders will be shut up and kept into darkness while elections are rigged in the rural areas and maoists will come into power. Once this happens do u think u will be allowed to have your political views or expressed. All SPA leaders will be sent to Nakkhu jail.

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  6. Neil:
    You asked:
    Can someone please explain why the Maoists should dismantle their goverenment and let the police into their territory before they are in the government? When exaclty did they agree to do that?

    The following is taken from the peace accord:
    “Both parties agree not to operate parallel or any form of structure in any areas of the state or government structure as per the letter of the decisions of November 8 and the spirit of the peace agreement.”

    I will leave it up to your interpretation– for me, it means that where a goernment structure already exists (and it does exist at the local level) no other parallel system will be maitained- we can interpret this as no other governing structure will be put in place other that what the state already has. This can be tantamount to the dissolving of the structure the maoists have in place at the moment which is in direct conflict with the government structure.

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  7. What next 2007 is still unknown, and people are predicting civil war. People are worried what happened if maoist lost the CA poll by just getting few winning votes.

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  8. As I understand it the Maoists will dissolve their parallel government and let the police posts be re-established as soon as there is an interim parliament. The elections don’t have anything to do with it. They will presumably take place 6 months after the interim parliament is operating.

    If the Maoists let all of the police posts be established, and then the government for some reason decides it doesn’t need to let the Maoists in to the interim constitution, just what are the Maoists supposed to do?

    I understand that some of you just don’t like the Maoists, no matter what they do. Thats perfectly understandable. but you should at least have some realistic expectations of how they are going to behave. They don’t see the territory that they have taken over as something that they are returning. They see this as a merging of the two governments.

    If the Maoists are going to be in the Interim government within a timely manner, what is the point in rushing the reestablishment of police posts.

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  9. Ok Neil:
    Some of us don’t like the Maoist nomatter what they do! You are blind that you can not see the maoist atrocities! In the recent, there is another JAWALA Singh doing the same way as the Mr. Prachande doing! It is established that anyone who can kill, who can destroy nomatter what reson, can come to the power! So, how you take the the activities of JAWALA SINGH group?

    They buthchered the 13 K people because of the people like you!

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