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4 more Nepal ministers arrested

Source: PTI
February 05, 2005 16:28 IST
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Nepal's new royal government arrested four more ministers of the ousted Sher Bahadur Deuba Cabinet on Friday.

Works and physical planning minister Prakash Man Singh, agriculture minister Homnath Dahal, education minister Bimalendra Nidhi, minister of state for foreign affairs Prakash Mahat and Minendra Rijal, spokesman of  the Nepali Congress (Democratic), were arrested while they were holding a meeting at the party office in Maharajgunj area of Kathmandu, party sources said.

Authorities have already arrested Ishwor Pokhrel, the Deuba government's minister for industry and supply, and women and social welfare minister Asta Laxmi Shakya and Balkrishna Khan, minister of state for education.

Former deputy prime minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari; president of the Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Mandal) Badri Prasad Mandal; Rashtriya Prajatantra Party president Pashupati Rana; and president People's Front of Nepal Amik Serchan have also been put under house arrest, reported The Kathmandu Post.

Also see: A kingdom under siege

The first meeting of the new council of ministers chaired by King Gyanendra, who assumed all executive powers after dismissing the Deuba government, decided to form a Royal Commission within 15 days to probe corruption cases against politicians, State-run Radio Nepal reported on Saturday.

The Gyanendra government made public its 21-point programme and promised to form a land bank within 15 days to distribute land to the landless.

Meanwhile, leaders of various political parties, including the Nepali Congress president Girija Prasad Koirala, have appealed to "all democratic forces" to join hands and oppose the king's "unconstitutional" steps.

Nepal Communist Party (UML) president Madhav Kumar Nepal has urged the international community to oppose the "authoritarian" rule.

Sources said Deuba, Koirala, Nepal and former prime ministers Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, Surya Bahadur Thapa and Lokendra Bahadur Chand have also been put under house arrest.

Meanwhile, shops opened and there was traffic on roads in Kathmandu on Saturday, the third day of the strike called by the Maoists against the king's actions.

Telephone services, cut off after the royal takeover, resumed for about two hours Friday afternoon and an hour at night.
All offices of Internet service providers have been shut.

There are unconfirmed reports of dozens of students being injured in clashes with security forces in Prithvinarayan Campus in Pokhara hours after the king seized power. 

Reports filtering in now say agitators burnt eight vehicles outside Kathmandu the day emergency was imposed.

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