Quantcast
Latest Stories

Nepal’s royal massacre still a mystery 10 years on

By

KATHMANDU—A decade after Nepal’s crown prince stunned the world by gunning down nine family members, mystery still surrounds the massacre that plunged the monarchy into a crisis from which it never recovered.

Many Nepalese believe they may never know the truth about the night of June 1, 2001, when a drink- and drugs-fuelled prince Dipendra ran amok with an automatic weapon at a family dinner at the palace in the capital Kathmandu.

Dipendra, dressed in military fatigues, killed his revered father, King Birendra, his mother, brother and sister and five other relatives before shooting himself, according to official findings.

The 31-year-old Eton-educated heir to the throne was believed to have been crazed with anger after being stopped by the queen from marrying the woman he loved.

But conspiracy theories continue to swirl in Nepal about the bloodbath, which caused outpourings of hysterical grief in the impoverished nation where the king was seen as the reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.

“The high-level (government) commission formed to investigate the massacre only reported what happened and how it happened,” said Vivek Kumar Shah, a former military secretary at the royal palace.

“It didn’t say why it happened,” he added.

Shah said some internal and external forces could have provoked the crown prince but declined to elaborate, saying only: “There were interest groups who wanted to end the monarchy.”

The royal massacre, believed to have been the worst since Russia’s Romanovs were shot on the order of Vladimir Lenin in 1918, prompted rumors about the possible role in the slayings of the king’s less popular brother, Gyanendra.

Gyanendra was away from the Nepalese capital on the night of the killings.

“The people, who were numb with grief, reached a hasty conclusion it was a conspiracy (involving Gyanendra),” Kishor Shrestha, editor of Nepalese weekly Jana Aastha, said.

From the start of his reign, Gyanendra was much less beloved than his brother who in 1990 had legalized political parties, ushering in a new era of democracy and constitutional monarchy.

Gyanendra’s unpopularity only deepened when he dismissed the government and embarked on a period of autocratic rule in 2005, a move that united Maoist rebels with political parties, paving the way for mass protests that forced the king to step down three years ago.

A Maoist-dominated constitutional assembly declared a republic in May 2008. Many ordinary Nepalese were delighted to see the back of the dour king as well as his playboy would-be heir, Paras.

On June 11, 2008, Gyanendra left the palace for a hunting lodge on Kathmandu’s outskirts, marking the final end to a royal lineage founded by his warrior ancestor Prithvi Narayan Shah, who conquered dozens of small kingdoms in the 18th century.

“The monarchy lost its traditional respect” with Gyanendra’s decision to dismiss the government, said Nepalese journalist Yubaraj Ghimire.

“Looking back, I think the politics of 2006 when the Maoists and other parties were arrayed against the monarchy played a critical role in its demise,” Ghimire said.

Now, Nepal remains in tumult, racked by political crisis as parties struggle to draft a new constitution and oversee the peace process that began when the decade-long Maoist civil war ended in 2006.

The widespread hope that followed the end of the conflict and the abolition of the unpopular monarchy has been replaced by a growing sense of anger and frustration in Nepal, one of the world’s poorest countries.

And 10 years on from the royal massacre, even though many Nepalese believe they still do not know the full truth, there is a waning desire to reopen old wounds with another investigation.

“Nobody is interested in probing it,” Shrestha said.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: anniversary , Massacre , Nepal , royal matters




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
Advertisement

News

  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement