At 9:30, I checked the internet for anything latest. KantipurOnline had a brief news about the address which was posted in Sajha.com’s Kurakani board, where somebody had also posted about the house-arrest of top leaders (I thought it might be true). NepalNews.com didn’t open up.
At exact 10:00am, the King’s address began. I had already known the government would be dismissed so wasn’t surprised at all for that. But was not prepared for his takeover of the executive power. It was as for many people a bit surprising.
I tried to connect to the Internet immediately after the speech but the dial-up networking said that there is no dial tone. I then looked at my cell phone which was saying no network and I understood that I have been cut off with rest of the world.
I went outside my home and saw the school children returning home as the schools were closed due to curfew rumors. I met a few people who were not let to cross the district border.
By the afternoon, it was clear that there is heavy censorship in the news of television and FM radios. I called a friend of mine at the Kantipur Television who told me that there are military personnel monitoring the news. There was a strict censorship.
There was no flights coming and going. The airports were closed.
We talked at length about the decision and the general consensus was that – “the King’s move is foolish as the next fight would be now for republic and that the King had no backup from India.”
And the move would be decisive for the Maoists problem because –
- If the King has been backing the Maoists as suspected my many, they will lay down the weapons and there would be peace
- If the King hadn’t been backing them then there will either be major military operation (as we all knew the army was not co-operative in the issue with other government and they were not actually fighting) or the Maoists would start a decisive war against the King
At that point, my friend jokingly stated a very valid point. “Now since the political parties have been banned, how possible is it for them and the Maoists to unite for the fight against the King?”
I also came to know that most of the top leaders are under house-arrest and some have been taken into custody. The same friend at the KTV had also told me that the news editors of many newspapers have been summoned to palace.
The state-run radio broadcasted a news saying that the state of emergency has been declared with right to expression, right of press and publication, right to information, right to free movement, right to privacy and right of property suspended along with the clause that said there would be not pre-censorship in the media content.
The king’s secretary asked all the newspaper editors to support the move or to be ready for harsh consequences.
With all this, we moved into an ‘information isolation’ because we have no access to information content neither we would be able to verify and report on any activities. We will be merely writing and publishing the materials that the state will avail us.
There has been no difference in the street rather than the presence of security personnel but most of the people who knew a little about politics were bewildered. The cut-off of telecommunication literally kept everyone silent as there remained little chance of communicating with others. Till now there has been no heard protest but news about dipawali in few places to welcome the decision (even a rally at Satdobato).
Sacked PM Deuba released a statement somehow saying the decision ‘an open intervention and violation of constitution’ adding that they would protest the decision.