Nepal royalist govt detains key opposition leader

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KATHMANDU, Mar 23 (Reuters) Nepal's royalist government put a key opposition leader under police detention today, after confining him for more than two months in his house, an official said.

Madhav Kumar Nepal, general secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal-UML, was taken from his home in a Kathmandu suburb to a police base at Kakani, about 30 kms outside the city.

''He was under house arrest. Now he has been detained at a security base,'' a top government official, who did not wish to be named, told Reuters. Nepal had been detained under the Public Security Act, he added.

The CPN-UML is restive Nepal's second-biggest party and a key constituent of the seven-party alliance, which is planning a series of anti-king protests next month.

''There is no rule of law,'' Amrit Kumar Bohara, a top UML leader, said reacting to the move. Nepal had been under house arrest since January.

Police also searched his house yesterday and seized telephones, a computer and a fax machine, a party official said.

Reuters DKS BD2000

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