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India steps up efforts for restoration of democracy in Nepal

Written by: Staff
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Kathmandu, Apr 19 (UNI) India stepped up efforts for the restoration of democracy in Nepal as at least four protestors were killed and more than 100 injured in action by security forces on the 14th day of anti-democracy demonstrations in the kingdom today.

Indian Prime Minister's special envoy Karan Singh and Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran arrived here today as New Delhi initiated a fresh move to prevail upon Nepal King Gyanendra to restore democracy in the Kingdom.

Dr Karan Singh, accompanied by Mr Pankaj Saran, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, landed at the Tribhuvan International Airport this afternoon.

''India always wants peace and prosperity in Nepal and I am hopeful that the present crisis will be solved soon,'' he told mediapersons at the airport.

Mr Saran arrived here on a Druk Air flight this morning from Bhutan.

Mr Saran and Dr Singh were scheduled to hold talks with various party leaders including Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala, former Prime Ministers Sher Bahadur Deuba, Surya Bahadur Thapa and CPN-UML leaders Amrit Bohara and Bharat Mohan Adhikary this evening.

They are expected to meet the King tomorrow to ask him to take steps for the restoration of democracy.

At least four protestors were killed and more than 100 injured when security personnel opened fire and rained lathis on pro-democracy demonstrators in Chandragadhi of Jhapa in eastern Nepal this afternoon.

According to a local television, the incident happened as security men resorted to indiscriminate firing of bullets and teargas shells and baton charge to disperse a huge mass of over 50,000 pro-democracy protestors.

The Kantipur television said that ten of the injured are in serious condition. The injured were undergoing treatment at Mechi Zonal Hospital.

A large number of security personnel have been mobilised to control the situation there. Details were yet to come.

Meanwhile, the Royal Government today released some opposition leaders including CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal and Nepali Congress general secretary Ramchandra Paudel.

Mr Madhav Nepal, who has been put under house arrest since January 19 has been in Police detention since March 23. Mr Ramchandra Paudel was in police detention for three months. Both the leaders were arrested on the eve of mass demonstration scheduled on January 20.

The government released them from the premises of the Kathmandu District Court this evening.

Both the leaders said that they will not hold talks with the palace and the movement would not stop until a democratic process was established in the country.

Similarly Sujata Koirala, Suprabha Ghimire, Shashank Koirala and Raghuji Panta were also released today. Pant was also detained on the eve of January 20 protest and the rest were arrested during nationwide general strike.

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UNI XC/AT PK KN2055

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