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Nepal: 300 activists released

Source: PTI
April 26, 2006 12:48 IST
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Life returned to normal in the Nepalese capital on Wednesday, a day after opposition parties named veteran politician Girija Prasad Koirala to lead the new government and over 300 activists and civil society leaders, who took part in the pro-democracy agitation, were released.

One demonstrator succumbed to his injuries in western Nepal taking the toll of people killed during the three-week long agitation, which put pressure on the King to reinstate the parliament, to 17.

Leaders of the seven-party alliance decided at a meeting yesterday to name 81-year-old G P Koirala to head the new government. They also decided to call off the 19-day stir that had nearly paralysed life in Nepal. The Maoists, however, rejected the King's announcement to restore parliament and vowed to continue blockade in the capital.

The capital was back to life on Wednesday. Streets were no more deserted, markets opened, public buses and private vehicles plied on the streets. The schools reopened on Wednesday.

Government offices and private businesses have also resumed. Fresh vegetables and fruits arrived in Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market, the capital's main market.

Meanwhile, over 300 political activists, human rights activists and civil society leaders, detained for defying curfew and prohibitory orders, were released on Tuesday.

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Those freed include Nepali Congress central member Narahari Acharya, CPN-UML central member Pradip Gyawali, Nepali Congress Kathmandu District President Tirtha Ram Dangol, president of Human Rights Organization of Nepal Charan Prasai, civil society leader Devendra Raj Pandey and Mathur Prasad Shrestha.

Hundreds and thousands participated in nationwide victory rallies on Tuesday. Leaders of political parties addressed public meetings assuring the people to restore peace and institutionalise democracy.

Thousands of angry agitators in Kalanki, where four people were killed in police firing last week, chanted slogans against King, ex-Home Minister Kamal Thapa and security chiefs and also asked the Maoists to renounce violence.

"We are fed up with violence," they shouted and warned the Maoists not to indulge in violence any more.

The rebels, who supported the uprising against the King, on Tuesday vowed to continue their blockade of the capital and other district headquarters until their key demand for a constituent assembly was met.

An agitator, who was seriously injured in police firing during pro-democracy demonstrations at Kusma Bazaar in Parvat district in western Nepal died on Tuesday.

Govinda Nath Sharma, a businessman, who was undergoing treatment at Gandaki Zonal Hospital, Pokhara succumbed to bullet injuries, according to the National News Agency RSS.

He is the seventeenth person to die in the three-week-long agitation.

Some 5,000 people, including 200 children were injured during the royal government's crackdown against demonstrators demanding end to absolute monarchy and restoration of democracy.

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