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Nepal King aide denies role in killing activists

Written by: Staff

Kathmandu, Aug 31: One of Nepal King Gyanendra's top aides appeared before a powerful committee today probing the killing of pro-democracy protesters but denied any role in the violent crackdown, a panel member said.

Pashupati Bhakta Maharjan, the king's chief principal secretary, is the most senior palace official to be questioned about the shooting and killing of protesters in April, before the monarch gave in to street protests and restored democracy.

''I had no role in the suppression. I only worked as a bridge between His Majesty and constitutional organs,'' panel chief Krishna Jung Rayamajhi quoted Maharjan as saying during a nearly three-hour deposition.

Maharjan refused to speak to reporters after the session.

At least 22 people were killed and more than 5,000 wounded as troops shot and beat protesters who had brought the nation to a standstill for three weeks, before the king handed power back to political parties and revived parliament.

The panel was set up by the multi-party government formed after the protests. It says it will also question the king over his role in the crackdown but has set no date.

It has so far questioned more than 200 people including ministers in the ousted royalist government, army generals and senior police officers.

Most of them blamed the royalist government of the day for the crackdown, panel members say.


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