The former King of Nepal Gyanendra Shah on Monday (13 February) joined a public campaign that seeks to reinstate Nepal’s status as a “Hindu Kingdom”.
Notably, the campaign was launched on the day the Nepal government led by the Communist Party leader Pushpakamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ declared a public holiday to mark 23 years of the Maoist war.
The decision has for the first time met with nationwide protests, including some from the ruling coalition, refusing to declare the decade-long insurgency a “people’s war”.
The presence of the king at the event is significant, a first in the 14 years since the monarchy was abolished from Nepal.
It also comes at a time when the country’s political situation is unstable, with several prime ministers and coalition governments propping up in the last few years.
Although he refrained from directly calling for a return to monarchy, he said, “We never wanted, and we will not be a republic which will send more than 10 million Nepali youth to the Gulf countries to shed their blood and sweat.”
Shah was joined by leaders of various Hindu sects and lit lamps as a mark of protest.
Calls for the restoration of Nepal’s Hindu Kingdom and ‘Asli Hindustan’ status are not new and are raised by various groups from time to time.
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