King committed abuse of rights
A new report by a govern-ment panel accuses King Gyanendra of Nepal and others in his administration of committing rights abuses during pro-democracy protests in April and urges that the king be punished. The protests forced the ouster of Gyanendra's government and the restoration of an elected Parliament that had been removed four years earlier. Since then, the interim government has handed a series of defeats to the king, including ending his control over the army. The report has not been formally released, but people familiar with its contents spoke to reporters about it.
Gyanendra's ultimate test will come when the nation goes to the polls next year to elect a constituent assembly, which is expected to decide the fate of the monarchy. While some political parties favor a ceremonial role for the king, leftist parties, along with Maoist guerrillas, insist on the monarchy's abolition.
King Gyanendra did not accept an invitation from the government commission to respond to its findings. The panel also found 201 officials in the royal administration responsible for a violent crackdown on protesters last April, including senior police and army officials.
It is unclear how Nepal will pursue legal proceedings against the king, who for generations has been regarded as a human incarnation of a Hindu god. A member of the panel, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the report has yet to be made public, said the commission had urged the government to draft new regulations to try the king.
The Maoist rebels, who are expected to sign a peace agreement this week, have been taken to task recently as well. On Sunday, the United Nations issued a statement expressing concern about the Maoists' continued recruitment of children.
Speaking to reporters here in the Indian capital, where he had come for a speaking engagement, the Maoist chief, who goes by the name Prachanda, insisted that his group did not recruit children but that it sheltered and fed the children of rebels killed in the conflict.