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Gyanendra bids adieu to palace

Before leaving his palace for good, the deposed king vowed not to flee the country but to stay on and work for the good of its people. Anirban Roy reports.
By Anirban Roy | Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
UPDATED ON JUN 11, 2008 09:59 PM IST

Nepal’s ousted monarch Gyanendra Shah on Wednesday said he respects the political course the Himalayan nation has chosen.

Hours before vacating the Narayanhity Palace, Gyanendra addressed the media at the beautiful Kaski Baithak, the main chamber of the palace, and said he accepted the May 28 declaration (of republic) and pledged to cooperate for peace, progress and independence of Nepal.

He appeared at the jam-packed press conference with folded hands, smiling at the journalists and read out his 14-minute-long speech in Nepali. He refused to answer the questions asked by mediapersons after the press conference.

Complying with the directive of the first sitting of the Constituent Assembly (CA) meeting, Gyanendra is scheduled to vacate the palace at 9 pm on Wednesday, after dinner with his family members.

Almost all the members of the royal family on Wednesday afternoon assembled at Narayanhity Palace to bid adieu to the last king of the Shah dynasty. However, no one from the royal family were seen at the press conference.

“I am leaving this (Narayanhity) palace, honouring the people’s verdict,” the deposed king said. The Nepal government has allowed him to stay with his wife Komal Shah at Nagarjuna palace on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

Gyanendra said he has handed over the ancestral royal crown of the Shah Dynasty of Nepal to the Nepal government and is not taking along any valuable documents or artifacts of the 240-year-old Shah dynasty with him.

The deposed monarch said it was unfortunate that he and his family had been blamed for the June 1, 2001 palace massacre.

"My wife (Komal) has also hit by bullet during the massacre and some of the splinters are still in her body,” he said.

Gyanendra also refuted the allegations about acquiring disproportionate amount of properties after becoming the King.

“I will not leave Nepal and did not siphon out any amount of cash to foreign countries and whatever property I have, is in Nepal,” Gyanendra said, adding, “The monarchy always stood as a friend of Nepali people.”

The last king of the Shah Dynasty said he had to take over the kingship of Nepal in an extremely very difficult situation when most of the members of his family were killed in the infamous palace massacre.

Lauding the contribution of Prithvi Narayan Shah, the first Shah King of Nepal, Gyanendra said that there were more challenges in country’s transition phase.

“I always wanted well-being of the Nepali people,” he said.

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