THT 10 years ago: Katuwal gets promotion, will be new COAS

Kathmandu, September 5, 2006

The government today decided to promote Lt General Rukmangat Katuwal to the post of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of the Nepali Army at the end of the weekly cabinet meeting today.

He will take over as the new COAS on next Saturday.

The fact that he could be the next COAS had become clear on August 11 when he was appointed as Acting COAS by the incumbent government following the departure of the outgoing COAS Pyar Jung Thapa on a customary one month leave on August 11.

The proposal to this effect was tabled today following intense exercise among the coalition partners. He has been appointed for a three-year-term.

In yet another significant decision, the government has decided to kickstart the peace process by first holding an all-party meeting later this week, a source said, adding that “the same will be followed by a summit meeting possibly next week.”

The decision to hold the summit meeting was taken following intense lobbying by Deputy PM Amik Sherchan who has been a strong supporter of the peace process in the government, with tacit backing of Home Minister

Krishna Prasad Sitaula who has been fighting the “resistance in the party towards the peace process.” “There is not much difference between our and their agenda.

Much is being worked out,” said Sitaula while talking to reporters at the PM’s residence.

Indra Jatra celebration begins

The celebration of Indra Jatra in Patan began from today. On the first day today, the locals of Chhayashal area and its neighbourhood observed the festival in the night by staging a play and shadow drama accompanied by traditional music on the premises of Chhayashal.

At the end of the show, the actors stage a ‘shadow drama’ about the ‘illicit relationship’ of King Siddhi Narsingh Malla.

According to Satya Mohan Joshi, cultural expert: “The demonstration of sex on the curtain is the medium of educating public about negative aspects of adultery.” He added that the show, which dates three hundred years back, was part of amusement and entertainment in the old days.

On the same day, the locals of Alok hiti also displayed various means of amusement on the premises of Alok hiti.

On the fourth day, the conclusion of the festival will be marked by performing rituals at Purna Chandi Mandir, Gabahal and displaying huge rice balls in its courtyard. Joshi said: “According to scriptures, on this day Indra led the Gods in a war against the Devil and won a war.

However, the scriptures have different versions in which Indra was caught redhanded stealing Parijat, a rare flower from the earth.”

He added the festival is marked to honour Indra, King of the Gods.