Mass Protest Demanding Restoration of Constitutional Monarchy in Nepal

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News Desk

A mass demonstration was held in the capital on 05 December demanding restoration of the monarchy in Nepal. Hundreds of pro-monarchy protestors gathered in Maitighar and walked past Babar Mahal and Bijulibazar before converging into a corner meeting in New Baneshwar where the federal parliament building is located. The protestors carried national flags and placards of Prithvi Narayan Shah, the founding father of modern Nepal. The mass demonstration was organized by the Rashtriya Nagarik Andolan Samiti 2077 (National Civic Movement Committee 2020). Demonstrators also chanted slogans against the Federal Democratic Republican system that Nepal adopted in 2008 after the abolition of the 240-year old monarchy. Some protestors also demanded that Nepal should be declared as the Hindu state again.

The Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal(RPP) launched a movement for the restoration of the monarchy from the southern city of Hetauda on 04 December, to be followed on 05 December by rallies in another southern city, Jhapa, and the capital, Kathmandu. Around 10,000 royalists are expected at the Kathmandu demonstration.

The monarchy was abolished in 2008, and a section of Nepal’s population still favors its restoration. The RPP is gambling on their support.

On 02 December, the Ministry of Home Affairs of Nepal sent a directive to 77 districts in seven provinces to quell the pro-monarchy demonstrations by force if needed. Despite the directive, the RPP was adamant on going through with the demonstrations. Damodar Wagle, president of the RPP youth organization Bagmati, told on 02 December, “We are supporting the royalists, and our movement will continue despite the directive of the home ministry. If they use force, we will retaliate.”

The party has been holding demonstrations in major cities since last month. Sporadic pro-monarchy protests have previously been seen over the last 12 years, and the current wave of rallies started on a small scale in June in Kathmandu.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the weak performance of the ruling Nepal Communist Party has led more right-wing groups and pro-monarchy Nepalese to support the demonstrations and demand Nepal again become a Hindu state. The ruling party has been unpopular lately because it is embroiled in infighting and corruption and has failed to control the pandemic.

Former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattari and members of the ruling party have called the demonstrations undemocratic. There are concerns that Hindutva ideology-a form of Hindu nationalism in India might be spilling over into Nepal. Observers in Kathmandu said the pro-monarchy movement could benefit Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, as they want neighboring Nepal to also become a Hindu state again. According to Wagle, their aim is to reestablish the monarchy and a Hindu state in Nepal; they will gather support from the streets and also push for a referendum based on the 2015 constitution via winning the next general election.

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