Nepal army reduce soldiers from royal palace


Kathmandu : Nepal’s government has drastically reduced the military personnel at the command of the Narayanhity royal palace after the interim administration slashed most of the powers of King Gyanendra, including removing him as the head of the army in the Himalayan state.

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Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who also holds the defence portfolio, has recalled 500 military personnel stationed at the Narayanhity royal palace to the army headquarters.

Koirala had directed the army last week to cut the number of personnel at the royal palace by half after the king visited Nepal’s living goddess to seek her blessings without the government’s permission.

Nepal Army spokesperson Rabindra Chhetri said the military personnel were recalled as per the government direction. Those recalled will be kept under the office of the Chief of Army Staff for the time being, Chhetri was quoted as saying by the Himalayan Times online today.

With the constituent assembly election postponed indefinitely to appease the Maoists, the army men have been recalled from the palace, which has over 3,000 soldiers to provide security to the royal family.

Koirala today summoned a special session of the interim parliament on October 11 to find a way out of the political crisis that forced the government to put off the crucial November constituent assembly polls.

The seven parties reached an agreement to suspend the November 22 election, which was a key element of a peace deal sealed last year that ended a decade of insurgency by the Maoists.

The crucial election to change the political system in the country were put off indefinitely as the fiercely republican Maoists refused to budge on their key pre-conditions — declaring the country a republic and change in the electoral system– for taking part in the polls.