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26 April, 2009

Nepal coup threat passes

Kathmandu newspapers report that Nepal’s army has backed out from the collision course. They give credit to India and other donor governments for this development.

In front-page reports, Kantipur, Nepal's largest circulated daily, and its sister publication, the Kathmandu Post, gave details of a “soft coup” which was to have taken place on Wednesday.

They said Maoist leaders, ministers and other selected individuals were to be arrested and former king Gyanendra was to be put in "line arrest" in the Nagarjuna Palace, where he has been staying since he left the Narayanhity palace last June.

The plotters also planned to "cut off" Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda, opposition leader Girija Prasad Koirala and a number of other leaders from the public and encircle Singhadurbar, Nepal's cluster of ministries, Baluwatar, the official residence of Prachanda, offices of the Maoists' Young Communist League and other associations, and the 28 cantonments where the Maoists' People's Liberation Army combatants have been confined since the signing of the peace pact in November 2006.

They claimed there was no plan to harm the PLA fighters. They were to be allowed to go home or abroad while the UN officers monitoring the camps were to be escorted to Kathmandu.

Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post said they had decided to break this story to show the profound threat to democracy posed by the unreformed Nepalese army, which is a proxy for foreign interests and not a patriotic army to defend Nepal and democracy.

The newspapers claimed their sources were senior officers of the Nepal army who put the interests of democracy and nation ahead of those of proxy foreign interests.

The Nepal army headquarters in Kathmandu rebutted the reports, calling them "a well-planned conspiracy to create a rift between the government and the army". The army statement said, "The army remains united, disciplined and under a chain of command. It is dedicated to protecting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the motherland and national unity."

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