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King Agrees To Revamp Constitutional Comission

May 14, 1990

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) _ King Birendra agreed Sunday to reconsider the makeup of a constitutional commission he had appointed without consulting the government, sparking an outcry.

A high-ranking government official said Sunday that police fired on a group of students in Baglung, 118 miles northwest of the capital, killing one and injuring two.

The students were protesting the transfer of a police officer who they said was involved in the repression of the pro-democracy movement earlier this year, the official said.

On April 6, police fired into a crowd of pro-democracy activists marching to the palace, and witnesses said at least 200 people were killed.

Popular pressure then forced King Birendra to lift a 29-year-old ban on political parties, dismiss a rubber-stamp government and disband a partyless system of government known as the Panchayat.

The king had come under sharp criticism from members of the interim government for appointing a seven-member constitutional commission without consulting the government. That was seen as an attempt on the monarch’s part to head off limits on his sweeping powers under the constitution.

The king formed the commission Friday, saying it would rewrite the document to institutionalize a constitutional monarchy and a multi-party system.

Prime Minister Krishna Prasa Bhattarai, one of the leaders of the democracy movement, said he was shocked by the king’s failure to consult the government about the appointments.

However, the king reportedly assured the prime minister that any draft of the constitution would be sent to the Cabinet for revisions.

Bhattarai’s government took office April 19.

Update hourly