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Nepal's ousted king quits

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7447533.stm Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 16:47 UK Nepal s ousted king quits The deposed king
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 11, 2008
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      Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June
      2008 16:47 UK
      Nepal's ousted king quits

      The deposed king of Nepal, Gyanendra, has moved out of
      the palace in the capital Kathmandu where his family
      lived for more than a century.

      He and his wife, the former queen Komal, swept out of
      the compound in the back of a black Mercedes as scores
      of riot police guarded the main gate.

      Earlier, he said he had handed back his crown and
      royal sceptre and would work for the good of the new

      Last month, Nepal's Maoist-led assembly voted to
      abolish the monarchy.

      The palace in the centre of Kathmandu is to become a

      Gyanendra and his wife are moving to a new, temporary
      residence outside the city.

      'The people's verdict'

      A police and army escort followed the ex-monarch's car
      as he left for Nagarjun, in the north-western suburbs
      of Kathmandu.

      The couple will live in a large, comfortable but
      ordinary-looking house there.

      A few loyalist onlookers called for Gyanendra to stay
      on as his car left but many in the crowd near the
      palace seemed happy to see him go, correspondents say.

      "This marks the beginning of a new Nepal and the end
      of a dynasty that has done nothing but harm this
      country," Devendra Maharjan, a farmer who had come to
      Kathmandu to see the king leave the palace, told The
      Associated Press.

      "If it had not been for the kings, Nepal would
      probably not have remained a poor nation."

      Speaking to journalists at the palace earlier, the
      former monarch said he had given his priceless crown
      to the Nepalese government for its protection.

      "I have assisted in and respected the verdict of the
      people," Gyanendra said, insisting he would not leave
      Nepal and go into exile.

      Addressing Nepali people's widespread belief that he
      had engineered the royal massacre of 2001, he
      vigorously denied involvement.

      He pointed out that his wife had had several bullets
      lodged in her body in the attack, in which Crown
      Prince Dipendra shot dead King Birendra and eight
      other members of the royal family before killing

      Gyanendra said he had taken over power in 2005 hoping
      it would bring harmony and peace, but he admitted
      things had not worked out as he had planned.

      His stepmother and his grandfather's mistress will
      live on in their homes within the compound of the
      palace in central Kathmandu, in a fenced-off area.

      Bitter ending

      The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kathmandu says that the
      former monarch's departure is a major symbolic moment
      in the fall of the Shah dynasty, which unified Nepal
      in the 1760s.

      The Maoists, who urged Gyanendra to bow out gracefully
      or be put on trial, welcomed the news that he was
      going quietly.

      But the ending of the monarchy has generally been a
      bitter affair, our correspondent says.

      It was engendered by the 2001 massacre and Gyanendra's
      attempts to be politically active in quelling the
      Maoist insurgency, he adds.

      The deposed king is reported to be reluctant to allow
      a committee to audit his saleable assets.

      He has made clear that he will leave behind most of
      the furniture in the palace, along with gifts he
      received in his capacity as the country's head of

      Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula said details of
      which possessions he keeps and which ones he leaves
      behind would be publicised after his departure from
      the palace.

      Mr Sitaula and the information minister inspected
      Gyanendra's new home earlier this week.

      Photos of their visit drew some criticism from people
      upset over the number of animal trophies and other
      wildlife artefacts on display. They argue that such
      items should be confiscated.

      November 1991: King Birendra becomes constitutional
      monarch and reintroduces multiparty democracy
      June 2001: Crown Prince Dipendra shoots nine members
      of the royal family before killing himself. Gyanendra
      succeeds to the throne
      February 2005: Gyanendra sacks government and assumes
      full executive powers
      April 2006: Mass protests force reinstatement of
      parliament and king is stripped of most powers
      April 2008: Maoists win most seats in elections to
      constituent assembly
      May 2008: Nepal declared a republic, ending 240 years
      of monarchy
      June 2008: Gyanendra leaves his palace in Kathmandu,
      home of his family for more than a century
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