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Regicide in Kathmandu

January 9, 2014

June 6, 2001

I LEFT NEPAL on May 23, 2001. I had been over there for eight months. On June 1st, just eight days after I left, King Birendra and nine members of the Royal family were killed, including his wife, Queen Aishwarya, daughter, Princess Shruti (24) and younger son, Prince Nirajan (22). Initially, accusations fell on their eldest, Crown Prince Dipendra, due to a dispute at the Royal Palace with his mother that evening regarding his choice of bride. The Queen was said to be fiercely opposed to his choice, and the prince was outraged at having to choose between the marriage and his right to the throne.

The Nepalese were fond of the king who worked hard to implement democracy in Nepal’s political structure. The queen, on the other hand, had a nasty reputation and was greatly against such democratic efforts. Kathmandu (KTM) is teeming with rumours about the queen plotting a scandalous overthrow of the king whereby the Crown Prince would take over the kingship. I have neither heard nor found any verification for this as of yet.

The Nepalese majority was fond of Crown Prince Dipendra and refuses to believe he is responsible for the outrageous tragedy. Most who attended Eton with the Crown Prince, speak of him as a nice, friendly person. But there is also talk of him selling alcohol illegally and having a tendency to violence. One of late King Birendra’s cousins who was at the Royal Palace the night of the shooting remains injured in hospital and unofficially testifies that it was indeed Prince Dipendra who was the shooter. Notwithstanding, and armed with a belief in the Crown Prince’s innocence, many have stormed the streets and raged outside the Royal Palace in attempts to learn, trying to get, demanding to know: the truth.

Crown Prince Dipendra, despite being in a coma, technically became the King of Nepal following his father’s death. His reign was brief, however, as yesterday, the prince breathed his last royal breath. He was succeeded by the next in line for kingship, his paternal uncle, Guyanendra. According to a reporter at The Associated Press, Kathmandu division, “King Gyanendra, the late king’s younger brother, issued a statement Sunday blaming ‘accidental firing of an automatic weapon’ for the deaths. Gyanendra did not say who did the shooting, but many people mourning the loss of their king found the explanation preposterous.” Gyanendra is known to be far less for democracy and more power-hungry than his brother, the late-King Birendra. There are suspicions that Gyanendra hae a role in the killings, indeed, possibly putting the Crown Prince up to it.

In addition to this, now-King Gyanendra has a son, Prince Paras, who has been called “an absolute monster,” by some. Last year, he ran over Prabin Gurung, a great Nepalese musician, founder and composer for the group, Himalayan Feelings, while reportedly driving drunk. Paras then ran back over his victim, ensuring his victim’s silence and assured by Royal immunity. Paras is then said to have threatened to kill the Chief of Police upon being told that he may be put up for murder charges. He is also suspected in a hit-and-run, a rape, and that his murder of Prabin is not his first but third murder. Moreover, Paras is now heir to the throne.

Nepal is on the verge of a civil war and the Royal family has turned against itself. It is nice to know that Canada’s Prime Minister has expressed sympathy and compassion for the ailing kingdom and her people. It is nice to know that Canada is not facing such political and social unrest and tragedy. It is a great misfortune, however, that we may never know what really happened that night at the Royal Palace; and worse, that the people of Nepal might never know the truth.

Ke garne? Jindagi ustai chaa. What to do? Life is like this.

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From → Nepal

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