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India advised Nepal king to destroy Maoists: Report
Published on 2 Jun. 2010 12:17 AM IST
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Nine years after the massacre of Nepal’s royal family, an aide of the slain king said the Maoists were not averse to an ornamental king while neighbour India had advocated weeding out the Communist guerrillas by force, according to a report.
Chiran Shumsher Thapa, who had served as King Birendra’s press secretary in the Narayanhity royal palace, spoke to the “Nepal” weekly on the ninth anniversary of the palace massacre June 1, 2001 in which 13 members of the royal family were shot and 10, including the king and his queen, killed.
Dismissing several speculative theories that blamed international forces and the king’s successor, his younger brother Gyanendra, for the bloodbath, Thapa told the weekly that Birendra’s son and then crown prince Dipendra was responsible for the shooting that ended in Dipendra killing himself.
However, Thapa said the motive was not just the disagreement between the prince and his royal parents over the girl he wanted to marry. It had political and other causes.
According to the aide, the king, who was forced to surrender absolute power after a pro-democracy movement in 1990 and became a constitutional monarch, had begun dialogue with the Maoist guerrillas, who began waging an insurrection from 1996 demanding the abolition of the crown.
The king’s youngest brother Dhirendra, a royal cousin and a former minister acted as the go-betweens. During the parleys, the Maoists agreed to an ornamental monarch who would only head Hindu festivals and rituals, Thapa said.
The Maoists also wanted the king to agree not to interfere in matters of the government. However, the king thought the issue should be decided by the people and favoured a national referendum.
The dialogue made the king oppose the deployment of the army to combat the Maoist insurgency despite the government’s wish to do so, Thapa said.
The army was called in to begin a no-holds barred offensive against the Maoists only after the assassination of Birendra and the ascension to the throne of his younger brother Gyanendra.
Nepal’s two giant neighbours China and India had different advice regarding the Maoists, Thapa said.
Throughout the decade-old insurgency, Beijing had advised that being a tiny state it was in Nepal’s own interests to proceed unitedly on the basis of consensus among all players.
However, India advocated a radically different policy, Thapa said. New Delhi said the Maoists were terrorists and should be destroyed.
Thapa’s recollections, some say, are borne out by the chain of events subsequently.
As the uprising grew more intense, India stepped in directly, arming the Nepal Army and Armed Police Force to combat the guerrillas.
Also, during the election in 2008, when the Maoists returned to mainstream politics as a mainstream party, India supported the rightist Nepali Congress party.
Even the current turbulence in Nepal due to the refusal of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal to step down is attributed to New Delhi’s support for the embattled government.
New Delhi’s view is thought to be coloured by the growing Maoist insurgency in India, where 20 out of the 28 states are directly affected by the violence.

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