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  Wednesday, October 16, 2019
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Nepal's King Gyanendra has run the country behind the scenes since a 2001 palace massacre vaulted him to the throne
Nepal's King Gyanendra, who put himself in charge of the nation on Tuesday amid an intensifying war with Maoist rebels, has run the country behind the scenes since a 2001 palace massacre vaulted him to the throne. Gyanendra became the constitutional monarch in June 2001 after his brother, King Birendra, and other royals were murdered at the palace by a drink-fuelled crown prince who later shot himself. On Tuesday, Gyanendra pledged to restore democracy in the impoverished Himalayan kingdom, where a nine-year Maoist battle to topple the monarchy and install a communist republic has become increasingly savage, reports Times of India. Nepal's neighbour, India, said the king's action was a setback to Nepalese democracy and a cause for grave concern. The move would "benefit the forces that not only wish to undermine democracy but the institution of monarchy as well," a foreign ministry spokesman said. The UK government criticised the development and appealed for "calm and restraint". Louise Arbour, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, called on King Gyanendra to "ensure that the democratic institutions of the state are reinstalled without delay", says the BBC News. Dismissed prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was also sacked in 2002, accused the king of "a flagrant violation of the constitution of Nepal." "It is an anti-democratic step and we strongly denounce this act. This step has thrown the country into a grave crisis," he said. "Various political leaders including the prime minister and the secretary general of the NCP-UML (Nepali Congress Democratic Party-United Marxist Leninist) Madhav Kumar Nepal have been put under house arrest," Deuba said, writes the Turkish Press
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