Wednesday, June 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Oppn leader quits probe panel
5 more killed in curfew-bound Kathmandu

Kathmandu, June 5
In a major setback to Nepal’s new monarch, King Gyanendra, a member of the judicial commission set up by him to probe the palace massacre pulled out, expressing reservations. At the same time, curfew was reimposed in the city amid reports of sporadic outbursts of fresh violence today and five persons defying curfew in Kathmandu were killed when the police opened fire.

Nepalese riot police remove burning tires from a street in Kathmandu June 5, 2001.
Nepalese riot police remove burning tires from a street in Kathmandu on Tuesday. Nepali authorities slapped another curfew on the capital on Tuesday to try to prevent further violence by protesters. — Reuters photo

Even before the three-member commission headed by Chief Justice Keshav Prasad Upadhyay, announced by the King last night, could begin the inquiry, main opposition leader Madhav Kumar Nepal withdrew, saying that he would not take part because of “reservations” over how the panel has been set up.

Mr Nepal announced his decision in a statement following a meeting of his Nepal Communist Party -UML which felt that the panel should have been set up by the Prime Minister rather than by the new monarch.

The committee, which also included parliament speaker Tara Nath Bhat, was mandated to give its report within three days in the wake of the strident public demand for an impartial and full inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the killings of King Birendra and nine other royal family members.

Five persons were killed today when the police opened fire at crowds defying a curfew clamped in the Nepalese Capital, taking to 17 the number killed in two days of violence, police sources said.

Three persons died at Anan Nagar and two others in the Kalopul area of the tense Capital, the sources said.

Benjamin Ray, 24, a tourist who cycled from England through Europe and the Gulf to Nepal waits at Kathmandu airport for a flight to take him back home on Tuesday.
Benjamin Ray, 24, a tourist who cycled from England through Europe and the Gulf to Nepal waits at Kathmandu airport for a flight to take him back home on Tuesday. Several flights out of Kathmandu were canceled after Nepali authorities slapped another curfew. — Reuters photo

The firing was reported after the authorities re-imposed an overnight curfew shortly after it ended at dawn, as angry mourners protesting the massacre of the royal family on June 1 continued to scuffle with the police in parts of this city.

“All five were killed for defying the curfew," a police officer at the control room said, confirming the earlier 12 deaths.

Police officers said unidentified people were provoking both the mainly young mourners and the security forces. “We can see some people throwing stones at us, and then at the crowds. We don't know who they are," an officer said.

“It is a very tense atmosphere on the streets,” said one shopkeeper speaking on telephone from his residence. “It is very chaotic. It is also very tense. Whenever the police get a chance, they are shooting at people.”

Streets across Kathmandu were mostly deserted. But young men, some with their heads tonsured in line with a Hindu custom of mourning, were massing on some of the narrow lanes, residents said over telephone. Violence erupted here on Monday after Regent Gyanendra was crowned the new monarch of this Himalayan kingdom of 24 million people and the Royal Council simultaneously announced the death of crown prince and king-designate Dipendra.

The Nepalese Government had earlier put the death toll in the royal massacre at eight. This version of the tragedy is widely disbelieved here.

Soldiers were guarding the roads leading to the Narayan Hity Palace, where the massacre of the royalty had occurred. Most streets were still littered with stones, shoes and slippers and burnt tires - reminders of the previous day's violence.

The police used baton and fired teargas shells to disperse a crowd of about 300 protesters, who had gathered even after the reimposition of the curfew, in Boudha area, police sources said, adding that three persons were injured.

Dismissing as preposterous, the theory handed out so far that erstwhile crown prince Dipendra killed his family in a fit of rage, people in other parts of the kingdom have demanded that the real culprits be identified and punished for regicide. Meanwhile, several political parties and leaders today came out with separate statements appealing for “public calm and patience’’ till Thursday, when the three-man probe announced by King Gyanendra yesterday is expected to submit its report on the Friday night massacre.

“The truth and facts behind the national tragedy shall be out then...Let all country men wait for the outcome of the report’’, was the essence of the appeals put out by the ruling Nepali Congress, main opposition Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxists-Leninists) and other opposition parties, including the Rashtriya Prajatantra Party, Nepal Sadhbhavna Party, Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist) and the Nepal Mazdoor Kisan Party. PTI, UNI, IANSBack



5th day ritual of King today

Kathmandu, June 5
Nepal will observe an age-old Hindu tradition tomorrow to mark the fifth day of the death of King Birendra, offering fruits, sweets and rice for his departed soul. The state radio announced that “people could make their offerings tomorrow.” AFP




No Indian scribe detained: Nepal

Kathmandu, June 5
The Nepal police today denied that any Indian media personnel covering the developments here in the aftermath of the palace killings were detained and interrogated.

“No Indian journalist was detained or interrogated,” DIG Om Vikram Rana said. PTI



Dipendra’s Olympic date with Devyani
Paritosh Parasher

Sydney, June 5
An Australian newspaper has revealed that deceased Nepalese Crown Prince Dipendra had secretly brought his girlfriend Devyani Rana to the Olympic Games here last year, in defiance of his mother’s wishes.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported in a front-page article that in spite of strong opposition from his mother, Queen Aishwarya, Dipendra stayed together with Devyani at the inner city Quay West Apartments.

Dipendra was initially blamed for massacring nearly the entire Nepalese royal family, including King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya, after an argument over his marriage, before turning the gun on himself.

The Australian daily said Devyani had come three days after the arrival of Dipendra for the September Olympics and left two days before him. Dipendra also asked his two Australian Federal Police security guards to keep this information secret reportedly because of his mother’s disapproval.

Dipendra and Devyani are also said to have done shopping and sightseeing around Sydney together. They dined regularly at central business district restaurants together. But the young Nepalese couple did not make an appearance in any official function.

The presence of Devyani in Sydney was also not known to the local Nepalese community or Australian officials with whom Dipendra interacted as the head of the Nepalese Olympic contingent. IANS

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