Cruel rebs, tyrant King caused crisis: Leahy

Kathmandu, November 20:

US senator Patrick Leahy has said a ruthless Maoist insurgency and a corrupt, repressive monarchy have brought Nepal to the brink of disaster.

“In the four and a half years since King Gyanendra ascended the throne and became the Commander-in -Chief of the Nepalese army, the Maoists have grown from a minor irritant to a national menace,” Leahy said in a statement released today.

He wondered “why King Gyanendra thought he could defeat the Maoists by dissolving the government, curtailing civil liberties, and surrounding himself with a clique of elderly advisors from the discredited, feudalistic Panchayat era.”

He blamed the King for increasingly behaving like a despot who is determined to consolidate his own power.

He also blamed the Maoists for continued “abductions and extortions”. Whether the ceasefire is a sinister ploy or a sincere overture for peace may never be known, and “neither the King nor the army has indicated a willingness to reciprocate.”

“The US amendment to impose new restrictions on military aid for Nepal says that before the Nepalese army can receive US. aid, the Secretary of State must certify that the Government of Nepal has “restored civil liberties, is protecting human rights, and has demonstrated, through dialogue with Nepal’s political parties, a commitment to a clear timetable to restore multi-party democratic government consistent with the 1990 Nepalese Constitution,” Leahy said.

Leahy said that the US Congress took this action only after it could no longer ignore the pattern of arbitrary arrests, disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings by the army.

“The army’s abusive conduct, coupled with the King’s repressive actions since February 1, have contributed to a political crisis that threatens not only the future of democracy but the monarchy itself,” said Leahy.

He said: “The Maoists are expert at intimidating the civilian population and carrying out surprise attacks and melting back into the mountains. While they do not have the strength to defeat the army, neither can they be defeated militarily.”