Nepal’s former King Gyanendra Shah joins campaign to reinstate the country as Hindu Kingdom

On February 13, the former King of Nepal, Gyanendra Shah, joined a public campaign aimed at restoring Nepal’s earlier status as a Hindu Kingdom. Shah launched the ‘Let’s save dharma, nation, nationalism, culture and citizens mega campaign’ from Kakarbhitta in eastern Nepal’s Jhapa district. A large number of people attended the event, cheering and applauding the move. The campaign is being coordinated by Durga Prasai, a central committee member of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist Party led by former prime minister KP Oli.

Notably, the event took place on the day Prime Minister Pushpakamal Dahal-led Nepal Government declared a holiday on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of the Maoist war. Reports suggest that several ruling party members were against the decision to declare Monday as a public holiday for the first time. They refused to recognize the insurgency as a “people’s war”.

At the event, the former King did not give any speech. However, his presence at the campaign is seen as significant as the country’s political situation appears to be drifting towards instability and uncertainty. Prasai has termed the current situation in Nepal as “suffocating”. He said, “We never wanted and will never be a republic that sends more than 10 million Nepali youth to the Gulf countries.” He did not make a direct call for the monarch’s return. Prasai also demanded that the farmer loans taken from cooperative banks and microfinance companies be waived off because their plight is forcing them to end their lives.

Shah and the members of different Hindu sects lit lamps to mark the proposed nationwide campaign. For the last six weeks, Shah, his son Paras, daughter Prerana and niece Sitashma have been camping at Damak, which is 40 KM away from the campaign site. Shah has been camping in Damak, about 40 km from the venue, for the last six weeks with his son Paras, daughter Prerana, and niece Sitashma.

Nepal was a Hindu nation before it was declared a ‘secular state’ in 2008 after the success of people’s movement of 2006 which led to abolishing of monarchy. Hinduism is the largest religion in Nepal.

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