Police have arrested 17-year-old student (grade 10) Roshan Kharel of Chahabil for allegedly hurling stone at king Gyanendra. UWB condemns the arrest and demands immediate and respectful release of Roshan Kharel.
Update: (A day after): Ganesh Kharel, the uncle of Rohan Kharel, has said that his nephew is innocent and didn’t hurl stones at Gyanendra’s fancy and bulletproof car. Ganesh said Roshan was stuck in the crowd at the time of spontaneous attack on Gyanendra by the people. “There was no light at the time of incident,” Ganesh said after meeting 17-year-old nephew in detention. “Police caught him in the chaos.” Roshan is student of grade 10 in Dhumbarahi’s Insight Vision School and lives in a nearby home with uncle. According to the Principal Bhim Kumar Shrestha Roshan is a very attentive in studies. “I don’t believe a genuine student like Roshan did such thing,” Principal Shrestha said.
King Gyanendra’s Mercedes: on the driver’s seat was the man himself when stones were hurled at the car. Pics via eKantipur
It was a historic day by all standards. A king came under attack by his formerly suppressed subjects. People chanted slogans denouncing him as he quietly and helplessly listened to them. And suddenly someone hurled stone aiming at his car that king Gyanendra was driving. The situation in Pashupatinath, the biggest temple in Nepal, instantly turned into a chaotic one as Gyanendra entered the temple premise driving his super fancy car while normal people were shivering in the cold and were struggling to get inside the temple standing in a long queue. “Gyane Chor, Desh Chhod” [Thief Gyanendra, leave the country] was one slogan heard while people protested the royal arrival in the temple of Lord Shiva. People had gathered in Gaushala to protest the temple visit of Gyanendra forcing the king to stay in temple premise for half an hour.
Fundamentalist Hindu love to stress the disillusioned belief that king is an incarnation of lord Vishnu. But the king who came to throne in dubious circumstances after the royal massacre in 2001 and challenged Nepali people’s democracy aspirations by introducing suspending civil liberty, imposing emergency and introducing his autocracy in February 2005. The historic popular uprising in April 2006 forced king Gyanendra to hide inside the palace and people’s rule was restored. The government formed after the uprising successfully signed comprehensive peace agreement with Maoist rebels who were fighting against the establishment for the last 10 years.
Today was particularly sensitive because the government had received credible information about possible agitation by Hindu fundamentalists sabotaging the Shivaratri festival. Hindu fundamentalists of Nepal, with the encouragement of Indian Hindu fundamentalists, are against the parliament declaration that made Nepal a secular state from previously the only Hindu state in the world. It is widely believed that royalists who are dissatisfied with the present democratic government are trying to create problem by using the Hindu fundamentalists.
Here is what eKantipur reported about the incident:
Sticking to tradition, the King’s visit to the Pashupati Nath Temple on the occasion of the Mahashivaratri festival was not put off, however, the longstanding custom did not go as smoothly this time around.
As King Gyanendra, escorted by a security caravan, drove his black Mercedes into the main throughway of Pashupati Nath Temple Friday evening to offer puja, sections of the crowd pelted stones at the King’s bullet proof vehicle. Following the stone throwing, security personnel had to use batons to disperse the crowd.
The king’s vehicle was pelted with stones three times. One policeman was injured in the incident.
Since the reinstatement of democracy after the April uprising, the all state power stripped King is seen outside of the palace during religious festivals only.
King Gyanendra who took absolute power on February 1, 2004 later handed it back to the people after the April uprising last year. The House of Representative reinstated after the Jana Andolan II later shifted all executive powers to the then HoR, which later was dissolved to form the existing Interim Legislature-Parliament.
The interim constitution that is the provisional law-enforcing document in the country has removed the King as head of state as he is stripped off all executive powers.