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Nepal dissatisfied with King's speech

By Sheela Bhatt in Kathmandu
April 21, 2006 23:54 IST
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King Gyanendra's address to the nation has failed to satisfy the majority of people in Nepal.

According to protestors in the streets of Kathmandu, the most glaring omission was that he didn't even send his condolences to the relatives of the peaceful protestors who died at the hands of securitymen in last 15 days.

However, he didn't forget to mention in his short speech that he has "high regard for the dutifulness, valour and discipline displayed by the security personnel."

The King didn't show any emotion while addressing his own people nor did he display any humility and acknowledge his people's sentiments.

His offer is not received with enthusiasm by most parties mainly due to the omission of a few issues.

In Kathmandu, the protestors who were gathered in the streets in anticipation to celebrate the "King's retreat" are now saying, "Not enough, not enough."

Hundreds of people have returned back to villages Friday because they were expecting that the King would offer something substantial and that would end their 15-day-long agitation.

Expectedly, the Maoists have totally opposed the King's offer.

Communist Party of Nepal's leader Madhav Nepal has also expressed dissatisfaction over the King's proposals.

Nepal Congress spokesman Shobhakar Parajuli has said the King's speech does not address the agitators' problems.

He also said that protests in the streets of Nepal will continue.

Gopal Chintan, a leader of the United Human Rights Peace forum, told, "There is nothing new in the King's offer."

He said, "The Nepalese wanted two things. To begin with, we want formation of an all party government, including Maoists in it, and we want an unambiguous announcement regarding the Constituent Assembly which will rewrite Nepal's Constitution."

The protests against the King and the demand for democracy is likely to be continued Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Seven Party Alliance has called its meeting Saturday at 7 am to debate the King's offer and to decide the next course of action.

However, last minute efforts are on to request the Seven Party Alliance to accept the King's offer to form the government, which has not mentioned restoring Parliament or the issue of the Constituent Assembly.

A source close to the King thinks that the King has put the ball back in the politcal parties' court who will have to play carefully while remaining united and by explaining to the Maoists to see reason in his offer.

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Sheela Bhatt in Kathmandu