Curfew off, mobile on
FROM ISSUE #282 (20 JAN 2006 - 26 JAN 2006) | TABLE OF CONTENTS
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The government on Monday lifted curfew it had imposed within Ring Road of Kathmandu valley ten days ago. It has also narrowed down the areas prohibited for demonstrations and has reopened postpaid mobile phone service. Home Minister Kamal Thapa said the security arrangements were eased because the government felt there was some improvement in the law and order situation. He said the government however had not thought about suspending the local polls. "There has not been anything that should make the government think about suspending the elections," he told a press meet just before the local administrations in Kathmandu and Lalitpur lifted the nighttime curfew. After the Maoists launched attacks leaving 12 policemen dead in Kathmandu valley on 14 January, the government imposed curfew and banned demonstrations within the Ring Road claiming that the rebels had infiltrated the parties' protests. The government's move had earned wide criticism both nationally and internationally. The easing up of the security arrangements comes one day after the government freed three of the five leaders who were kept under house arrest since 19 January, one day before the parties were supposed to hold a showdown in Kathmandu. Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala, Nepal Workers and Peasants Party chairman Narayan Man Bijukchhe and UML leader KP Oli were freed yesterday while UML General Secretary Madhab Kumar Nepal and his party colleague Bharat Mohan Adhikary continue to remain under house arrest. The parties have stressed that they would continue with their movement as long as democracy is not restored. Nepali Congress quoted its president Koirala as saying that there would be no compromise with the king because the people's power still remains hijacked. Minister Thapa said the government was open for talks as long as the parties came forth unconditionally. The parties have argued that the agenda for such talks must be made public beforehand.