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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 17:24 GMT
Viewpoints: Nepal's historic peace
The government of Nepal and Maoist rebels have signed a peace deal ending a decade of civil war.

The peace accord comes a day after a panel set up by the new government held King Gyanendra responsible for excesses against pro-democracy demonstrators in April.

The BBC News website spoke to people across Nepal about their hopes for the future.

POONAM LAMA, KATHMANDU

Poonam Lama
Poonam Lama is worried that the peace deal may not last

This is a milestone. All we have ever wanted is peace in our country.

I remember life when there was no fear in travelling around any part of our nation. Over the last decade, one had to think very carefully about going anywhere outside the capital city.

I couldn't accompany my best friend to go to her village. I haven't been able to escape the fear instilled in us by the violence.

In the past peace negotiations have been endless and without conclusion.

I hope this peace deal delivers for our citizens. Previous changes have failed.

The 2005 takeover of executive power by King Gyanendra led to a new era in this tiny mountain kingdom. He said he wanted to restore us to peace. But the nation had to face a three-way fight between the royalists, the political parties and the Maoists as a result.

The king was also found responsible for using excessive force against pro-democracy demonstrators. So now, in this new Nepal, I don't think the king should have a role.

I am happy, but we have learned in Nepal that the future is always uncertain.

BIMAL SHARMA, PHOTOGRAPHER, KATHMANDU

Bilal Sharma
Bilal Sharma witnessed violence at the pro-democracy demonstrations in April

We are so happy at this news. But we will hold our breath until there is real implementation of this agreement.

I'm worried about the commitment of the Maoists. They said they won't take action against the people of Nepal but we hear that they are still kidnapping civilians to bolster their militia. We want to see if the Maoists live up to their word.

The king is not to be trusted either. I was on the streets in April when the protests were going on. I saw the violence of the army.

The king must pay for the orders he gave at that time. Security personnel were brutalising the crowd, firing at us.

Yesterday, there were some protests against the king after he was condemned for allowing too much force in April. The slogan was that the king must be punished.

Demonstrations earlier this year in Nepal

So, as a result of all that, we don't want to see rule in Nepal by the king. He is unpopular and his son is also very unpopular. I am not even sure that ceremonial rule is correct.

Is the king necessary? I have travelled all over Nepal so I see how people live. Our country is poor and we have to pay a lot of money to the king and to his family.

But for the moment, there is happiness. The streets are deserted because people are watching the television and listening to this great news.

SANGESH SHRESTHA, BUSINESSMAN, CENTRAL NEPAL

Sangesh Shrestha
Sangesh Shrestha believes the king must play some role in the new Nepal

We don't want some in-between agreement. We want something that will last.

I think the royalist party in Nepal must be included in the new government. They are one of the biggest political parties in the country. They haven't taken part in the talks - but their concerns must definitely be considered.

If we don't include the royalists, we might see another civil war. Nepal might become another Iraq or Afghanistan.

The king should remain as a ceremonial figurehead but not a figure with real political power. Our prime minister has done a good job, because he thinks the king still has a role to play. After all, he is the only remaining Hindu king in the world.

Everyone is eager to condemn the excessive force used by the king in the protests earlier this year. But what about the Maoists?

Where I live, we protested against the Maoists just last week because they were asking locals to house guerrillas.

If the new parliament charges the king, it must also charge [rebel leader] Prachanda and the Maoists for the people they killed over the last decade.

But for long-term peace, we must forget the past and everybody must work together - and pray for the peace in this country.

KESHAB RAJ ADHIKARI, TRAVEL AGENT, ARGHAKANCHI

Keshab Raj Adhikari
Keshab Raj Adhikari feels the king could have a ceremonial role

This peace agreement is wondrous for me.

I live in a beautiful country that has suffered revolution for the last 10 years and now it can take up its position in the 21st century.

I am hopeful this is a permanent peace.

I have been disillusioned by the king. In Nepal, the king is viewed as a god. But when he behaves as he has done recently, it is very confusing for us. We feel he is to blame for everything that happened.

But I believe there should be a ceremonial king even though the communist parties would like to see the monarchy abolished. This king does need to be punished but that does not mean the position of a ceremonial king must go.

In fact, if I have a major fear, it is that I do not know what to expect from the political parties now. Nobody knows what agenda the Maoists really have. We all have to wait and see how this new government and parliament works.

I am happy for the moment, but what is really needed is a guarantee that this is a lasting peace.


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