Thursday, June 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Gyanendra spells out probe terms

Kathmandu, June 6
King Gyanendra has announced the much-awaited terms of reference of the high-level probe that he had appointed on Monday to report on the June 1 Royal Palace carnage in which King Birendra’s entire family was eliminated.

The committee headed by supreme court Chief Justice Keshav Prasad Upadhyaya had so far held two “informal meetings” and the three-day time allotted to it to submit its findings commenced immediately after the announcement of the terms, the Principal Press Secretariat of the Royal Palace informed late this evening.

According to a statement issued by the Principal Press Secretariat of the King, the committee has been empowered to inspect the incident venue and to collect its pictorial details; to collect information from those present during the incident, including the security personnel deployed at the time at the palace and the doctors assigned during the treatment, hostesses and other people who the committee feels necessary to contact; to inspect the related weapons, bullets and other related materials and to obtain details of treatment from the hospital; to seek necessary help from experts about the incident and to take help from people whom the committee deems necessary to obtain help.

The announcement further said King Gyanendra had accepted the resignation tendered by Mr Madhav Kumar Nepal.

Meanwhile, the night curfew was reclamped on Kathmandu and neighbouring Lalitpur as “a preventive measure” even as the day today remained peaceful after two successive nights of restrictions.

Prohibitory orders were reimposed in the twin townships in the Kathmandu valley from 9 p.m. till 3 a.m. and the residents were advised not to venture out since the patrolling security men had been ordered to shoot curfew violators.

Meanwhile, Nepal’s opposition leader said today that he would take part in the inquiry into the Royal Palace massacre only if other political parties were included in the exercise. Earlier, he had refused to participate.

An unfettered investigation will bring out the truth, according to Mr Madhav Kumar Nepal, leader of the United Marxist Leninist (UML) Party.

However, one key question is whether the inquiry panel will be permitted to interrogate survivors of the shooting. Royal affairs are traditionally kept secret in the Himalayan kingdom.

Parliament’s Speaker Taranath Ranabhat, who belongs to the ruling Nepali Congress of G.P. Koirala, attended the deliberations, they said.

Meanwhile, in a broadcast on the state radio, Home Minister Ram Chandra Paudel appealed for calm in the wake of violent protests that followed the Friday night’s incident.

In another development, in Bhaktapur — the third township within the Kathmandu valley and so far untouched by violence — more than 800 persons shouting slogans against the new monarch and supporting the Maoist rebels pelted the district administration office and the district police office with stones last evening, the police said.

One person was injured in the incident, while 14 have been arrested, the police added.

According to news reports today from Birtamod, in the eastern Jhapa district the police fired five teargas shells after an agitated crowd yesterday reached the entrance gate of the ‘Himalaya tea estate’ that is owned by King Gyanendra. UNI


Yes, Dipendra ‘did it’
G. Chandrashekhar

Nepal's new Crown Prince Paras Shah, right, and late King Dipendra, 29, left, shows in this November 1999 file photo.
Nepal's new Crown Prince Paras Shah, right, and late King Dipendra, 29, left, shown in this November 1999 file photo. Paras Shah, who is the only son of new King Gyanendra, would now automatically become the Crown Prince. — AP/PTI photo

Washington, June 6
Fresh reports surfaced today accusing the late Crown Prince Dipendra of regicide and massacre in the Narayan Hity Palace last Friday in which virtually the entire Shah dynasty rulers of Nepal were eliminated.

A close relative of an eyewitness to the massacre told The Washington Post in an interview that Dipendra had pulled the trigger of an Uzi submachine-gun and an M-16 assault rifle as his shocked parents and relatives looked on.

The Post reported, however, that there was no discussion of the crown Prince’s wedding plans or romantic life during the family gathering that night when the bloodshed occurred. Dipendra was said to be harbouring differences with his mother Queen Aishwarya over the choice of his bride.

“Why he did it, we may never know, but this is actually what happened,” the relative told the Post. “It was a routine Friday night, and it all went wrong.”

Recounting the sordid events, the relative said the prince was tending bar that night. He mixed a drink for one of his cousins and slipped out of the room at about 9 p.m.

The relative said Dipendra re-appeared a short while later wearing an Army uniform, his cap pulled low over his face and an Uzi sub-machine-gun and an M-16 assault rifle in his hands.

He first shot his father who was sitting in an adjacent room. The witness, a member of the royal family, told the relative that the King’s face had “utter astonishment on it”.

The Prince then sprayed the living room with sub-machine-gun and rifle fire for 15 minutes. Everyone was too stunned to react and fell one by one to the floor, the relative said.

The account, the first description of what happened from someone connected to the palace, made no mention of the possible motives for the crime.

At one point, Dipendra lost control of a gun and it began firing upward, showering bits of ceiling onto the carpet, the relative told the Post.

Queen Aishwarya and Dipendra’s younger brother Prince Nirajan got shot when they followed him into the garden while his uncle Prince Dhirendra was shot when he tried to plead with him to keep the gun down, the Post reported.

Dipendra’s aunt and cousin were shot when they rushed over to help the wounded Dhirendra, the relative was stated to have said.

More shots were heard when Dipendra went out to the garden again. That must have been the time he was shooting himself,” the relative told the Post.

After the firing stopped and the rooms fell silent, people got together and somebody was saying: “This one’s dead, that one’s alive.” The relative said one of those Dipendra had shot lay in the hospital bed later that night, saying, “It was unbelievable. The crown prince shot everyone.”

According to the Post, Paras Shah, son of new King Gyanendra, played a heroic role that evening. He moved quickly to hide some teenagers behind a sofa and arranged to have Army trucks take the wounded survivors to a military hospital because no ambulance was available.

The relative told the newspaper that “He (Paras) acted very maturely, very calmly.”

The Nepali paper Jana Aastha quoted the late Crown Prince’s maternal uncle, Suraj Shumsher, as saying that relatives had told him that Dipendra was to blame. UNI

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