KATHMANDU, JANUARY 11

Singha Durbar area was tense this afternoon after clashes broke out between security forces and supporters of monarchy who had in thousands moved towards the main entrance of the country’s administrative complex to pay homage to Prithivi Narayan Shah on the occasion of his 299th birth anniversary.

Pro-monarchy supporters and cadres of Rastriya Prajatantra Party, playing traditional musical instruments and wearing traditional dress, had marched from Bhadrakali towards Singha Durbar, where a life-size statue of PN Shah stands. The day is also called Prithivi Jayanti, and used to be celebrated as National Unity Day, till the federal republic was adopted as the country’s political system as mandated by the 2006 peoples’ movement.

After the monarchists reached mid-way, the heavily deployed police force in the area tried to stop the participants, telling them to walk on the pavements.

But, the participants, led by RPP’s President Pashupati Shamsher JBR refused. This resulted in a clash.

Angered by the obstruction by police, who were present there with water cannons and tear gas guns, participants pushed the police force back, giving rise to tension for hours. Some protesters were injured during protests.

Actor Manisha Koirala, who had participated in the programme, said that she was shocked by the police obstruction.

“I hope the government will respect and promote people’s desire for a common symbol of national unity. But, the government’s intention seems exactly the opposite. Is this the government of Nepalis, which deployed the police forced with water cannon and tear gas on this day?”Koirala tweeted.

The pro-monarchy demonstrators carrying the national flag and pictures of PN Shah demanded that the government formally recognise the day as National Unity Day. They had carried national flags and pictures of PN Shah and demanded the establishment of a Hindu nation and reinstatement of monarchy in the country.