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Nepal recalls palace massacre

As the country passes through another crisis, Nepal on Friday recalled one of the most brutal episodes in its modern history—the royal palace massacre.

world Updated: Jun 02, 2012 00:01 IST
Utpal Parashar

As the country passes through another crisis, Nepal on Friday recalled one of the most brutal episodes in its modern history—the royal palace massacre.

It was on this day 11 years ago, when nine members of the royal family including King Birendra Shah and his wife Aishwarya were gunned down by their son, crown prince Dipendra.

Despite the years, the mystery surrounding the event, refuses do die down. More so when, democracy, four years after monarchy was abolished, strives to find its footing.

On Friday, several newspapers, radio stations and television channels carried reports, columns and blogs on the massacre—but murder of a sitting Supreme Court judge a day earlier got more prominence.

There was more buzz on social media. “11 years and still no justice…we are waiting”, wrote Bhumigat Khukuri on a Facebook page dedicated to the deceased king and queen.

Many Nepalis who are disillusioned and angry at the political parties for recent dissolution of the Constituent Assembly without promulgation of a new constitution also took to the Internet to give vent to feelings.

“When (yo)u were with us no stupidity of those a#%$&*s worked out. But now it makes every Nepali cry seeing the country. Wish (yo)u were here,” wrote Nirva Dahal on Facebook.

There was however no mention of the massacre on the pro-monarchy website launched recently by followers of Birendra’s brother Gyanendra, the last king deposed four years ago.

Many in Nepal still believe the country may have escaped the present political mess and the tortuous route to peace and a new constitution if Birendra were alive.

In 1990, following a series of pro-democracy protests Birendra had promulgated a constitution transforming Nepal into a constitutional monarchy with multiparty democracy.

He was dead in less than 11 years. The official report into the murders said Queen Aishwarya’s opposition to the woman Dipendra wanted to marry was the trigger that prompted him to take the step.

But absence of post-mortems, discrepancies in statements given by some witnesses and doubts regarding the weapons used by Dipendra left many questions unanswered.

More importantly, it didn’t clarify whether the crown prince had shot himself or was killed by someone else. Dipendra remained in coma for three days before succumbing to injuries.