‘King, come back…’: Protests in Nepal call for the return of King Gyanendra

16 years ago, massive protests across Nepal ousted King Gyanendra Shah from his throne, paving the way for a republic. However, a major change results in the people wanting their king back.

A new wave of protests across the country are demanding the return of King Gyanendra to the throne and the reinstatement of Hinduism as the state religion.

Royalist groups took to the streets of Kathmandu last month chanting slogans – “The king is back, save the country. Long live our beloved king. We want a monarchy”.

Monarchy supporters have accused Nepal’s political parties of “corruption and failed governance”. Saying that the people are disappointed with the king, these groups have demanded the return of the king.

Who is King Gyanendra and why was he removed?

Gyanendra was the constitutional head of Nepal until 2005. Since 2005, the king has held all powers – executive and political. Once he gained control, he dissolved the government and parliament, jailed politicians and journalists, declared a state of emergency, and used the military to rule Nepal.

Upon his accession in 2005, the king promised the restoration of “peace and effective democracy” within three years.

However, following massive protests led by the seven-party alliance and the then-banned CPN Maoist party, Gyanendra was removed from the throne in 2006.

The Nepali Parliament then abolished all major powers of the king, including his veto power, which could be used to reject laws. His title was reduced and, a year later, all royal properties were nationalized.

In 2008, Nepal successfully abolished the monarchy and became a republic. Since then, there have been 13 governments in the Himalayan country and people have been unhappy with most of them.

16 years after his ouster, the royals want Gyanendra back. One such royalist at a pro-monarchy rally said, “The king is the umbrella that Nepal really needs to stop all the pressure and influence being exerted by countries like India, China or the US and save (the country).” Last month.

Political parties across the state have rejected this and said “the monarchy will never be restored”. After his expulsion, Gyanendra had to live the life of a common man and stayed away from politics. With the revival of pro-monarchy sentiment, the former king is yet to comment.