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Wednesday, 4 July, 2001, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Nepal's Maoists on the move
Street protest over killing
The rebels hope to tap in to public disquiet
By Sushil Sharma in Kathmandu

The latest explosion in Kathmandu occurred when a small explosive device went off outside the official residence of Chief Justice Keshab Prasad Upadhyaya.

Nepalese king
King Birendra was gunned down in a palace massacre
His residence is near the home of Prime Minister, Girija Prasad Koirala.

No-one was injured in the explosion, blamed on suspected Maoist rebels.

The rebels are not known to have targeted the Nepali capital in this way before.

Conflicting theories are being put forward for the motive behind the blast.

However, the one most commonly expressed is that the Maoists planted the device to protest against Chief Justice's Upadhyaya's investigation into the palace killings last month, in which King Birendra and nine royal family members were gunned down.

Public opinion

The rebels have publicly criticised the findings of the inquiry - which quoted numerous witnesses as saying that Crown Prince Dipendra had carried out the killings before shooting himself - as a whitewash.

Maoist graffiti
The rebels want a communist republic
In what commentators say is a clever effort to capitalise on divided Nepalese public opinion as to who was responsible for the murders, the Maoists have insisted that the palace massacre was the result of a larger national and international conspiracy.

They have called for a mass movement against the alleged conspirators, and have also called for a nationwide general strike next week.

Reports also persist that some of the insurgents are prepared to negotiate with the government.

Major force

But it is still not clear whether any progress in this direction is in the offing after five years of insurgency - costing 1,700 lives.

What is clear is that the underground Maoist communist party has emerged as a major force on the Nepalese political scene, isolated from all major mainstream political parties who insist on peaceful politics.

The rebels still appear passionately to believe their own rhetoric that a popular uprising at this time could bring them closer to their ultimate goal of replacing the constitutional monarchy with a communist republic.


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04 Jul 01 | South Asia
29 Jun 01 | South Asia
14 Jun 01 | South Asia
07 Jun 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
05 Apr 01 | South Asia
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