Heavy security arrangements around the Narayanhity Royal Palace were noticed in Kathmandu today when the elected Constituent Assembly is going to implement the declaration of republic within a few hours. Nepal Army, Armed Police, Nepal Police and Intelligence personnel were seen heavily deployed in all the four gates of the palace. Nepal Army and Armed Police personnel were carrying latest weapons made in the USA, Israel and Belgium.
A general understanding to implement republic among the major coalition political forces with their major role in Nepal’s peace process was reached before the Constituent Assembly poll, which was successfully held on 10 April 2008.
As part of conflict management, the monarchist parties that ruled Nepal continuously for several years were compelled to accept the Maoist agenda of federal republic. Maoists had been conducting a 10 year-long armed insurgency against the feudal state structures. When King Gyanendra, now counted as the last king of Nepal, launched a coup d’etat on 1 February 2005 by detaining political leaders and cutting off communication systems across the nation, the Nepalis delivered a final blow to the monarchy with a 19-day curfew-defying uprising in April 2006. During the uprising, the Nepalis, pouring in millions in the streets across the country, established the verdict of republic by completely rejecting the possibility of any sort of monarchy in Nepal. Since then, the major political parties have expressed their commitment and respect to this people’s verdict.
As the Nepalis expressed their desire to celebrate the practical initiation of republic by holding a historic mass meeting in the complex of the palace, the government has banned gathering in any such sensitive areas. "If political parties and people can’t hold a mass meeting in the palace complex, it still is not people’s victory. A real republic may yet to come," said Laxman Nath Sharma, a high school social studies teacher. Similarly, Rishi Kumar Bohara working as a security guard in Kathmandu wants to see an immediate difference in the republican Nepal. He says, "I’ve heard the present king has illegal properties worth billions. If the Nepal government can’t nationalize them, there is no use of making Nepal republic."
When trying to understand the opinions of ordinary passers-by, some expressed their dissatisfaction over the anti-people attitude of the state. A boy who identified himself as Dhiraj said, "We ordinary people fee insecure. Ordinary people are killed or injured in bomb explosions. Big people are protected any way. Look, the King has been protected with a lot of state money while the people are dying hungry."
Despite such discontent expressed by people, there is another environment of celebrations going on throughout the nation. People of various ideological, age, economic and professional groups have taken out to the streets chanting the slogans "Republic Hi! Hi!; Monarchy Bye! Bye! Earlier today, human rights workers, journalists, lawyers, teachers and different other NGO activists supported republic and said goodbye to monarchy through their celebration rallies. They used their particular institutional banners and placards. But the government banned any gathering in the areas close by the Birendra International Conference Center where the first sitting of the recently elected Constituent Assembly is being held today. But spontaneously pouring people have not ceased to warn their leaderships that the implementation of republic must not be postponed at any cost. Today’s first sitting of the Constituent Assembly is scheduled to declare the implementation of republic by formally abolishing monarchy. However, the parties have decided to give a deadline of 15 days for King Gyanendra to quit the palace for ever.