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Last Updated: Friday, 8 December 2006, 13:19 GMT
God king pays tax for first time
King Gyanendra
A vote to decide King Gyanendra's future is due next year
King Gyanendra of Nepal and his son, Crown Prince Paras, have been forced to pay tax - for the first time in the history of the monarchy.

Officials at Kathmandu's international airport say the king and the prince were charged customs duties on imported goods this week.

The king, revered as a Hindu god by many followers, had his powers stripped away by the government this year.

He was forced to surrender absolute power after weeks of street protests.

Previous constitutions have exempted the king from paying tax. But in May, parliament removed the exemption.

'According to law'

"The customs office at the Tribhuvan International Airport charged a total of 130,893 rupees ($1,817 dollars) as duty and tax to release 50 torches and a hunting trophy," Lok Darshan Regmi, the head of the airport customs department said, the AFP news agency reports.

"Palace officials took away the parcel after paying the amount Wednesday. We imposed the tax according to the law," Mr Regmi said.

It is not clear why the king wanted so many torches.

The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kathmandu says the tax payment is the latest in a series of humiliating blows for the king.

His extensive lands are to be nationalised. Parliament has also taken on the right to decide who succeeds to the throne if the monarchy survives.

King Gyanendra seized power in a royal coup in 2005, saying that the civilian government was failing to deal with the Maoist insurgency.

But the Maoists and a seven-party opposition grouping formed an alliance to end his rule.

A constituent assembly is due to be established next year that will decide on whether the monarchy should be abolished.

Nepal's prime minister shakes hands with the Maoist leader

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