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Nepal's Royal Massacre in Its Sixth Year

Royal Massacre in Its Sixth Year: A Real Fiction for Human Communicators

Mohan Nepali, Kathmandu

Nepal’s feudal monarchy is just on the verge of extinction today after six years of the Narayanhity royal massacre that occurred on 1 June 2001. Murdered in the massacre were the then King Birendra, Queen Aishworya, Crown Prince Dipendra, his younger brother Prince Nirajan, their sister Shruti, their uncle Dhirendra and six and other half dozen family members.

According to Nepali astrological calendar, today is the sixth year of the royal carnage. On this occasion, people and institutions organize not only commemoration ceremonies but also think back about the mastermind behind such a shrewdly planned event in which not a single member of new King Gyandra’s family was killed while the entire family of King Birendra were wiped out.

The two-member high level probe committee formed by the newly King Gyanendra could not answer a number of rational questions natural for any scientific investigation. What the probe report contained as vital information about the royal massacre was what was already covered by the BBC and the CNN on the night of June 1 when the massacre happened. The BBC and the CNN coverage about the massacre was based on the information given by high ranking military officials loyal to Gyanendra, the late king’s younger brother. Perhaps because of this confidence, the royal cum military sources did have the courage and fearlessness to tell the BBC and the CNN that the then Crown Prince Dipendra, who was extremely wobbling with drinks according to the testimony given by Paras and Rajiv Shahi, massacred all of his family members. Analysis shows that a palace source, after the destruction of the entire family of King Birendra, could never dare to tell the BBC or any other media about the carnage without the permission of the immediate power.

According to the Naya Patrika daily published today, Girija Prasad Koirala, who was the prime minister in 2001, was imprisoned in a room of Shree Birendra Hospital (military hospital). He was not allowed or did not like to inspect the dead bodies of the royal family members. One nursing staff member of the hospital told this author, “The prime minister was trembling and did not seem to move from his chair.”

About the massacre itself, the newly proclaimed king Gyanendra told people through state media that due to an accident with an automatic gun, the tragedy occurred. Regarding this remark, the Maoists stated in their press release of 11 June 2001, “In this heinous massacre, the role of Gyanendra as a villain within the palace is now getting exposed. Today, the palace itself is justifying the saying "one lie leads to another lie" by conspiring to fabricate colourful, theories in order to conceal the crime of this horrendous massacre. In such a situation it would be a big irony even to think that the truth will come out from the so-called investigation committee constituted by the murderers themselves.”

Not only Maoists, there are many who believe the traditional monarchy has ended in Nepal since the massacre. Although the new King Gyanendra tried to establish public relations by visiting different parts of the country and asking people to support him for every mission, people were not ready to give themselves to. They, instead, took out to the streets as sea storms and demanded the end of any type of monarchy. The mass movement of April 2006 has brought Nepal to the condition of freely expressing one’s opinions against monarchy despite several efforts by royalists to maintain their traditionally wielded influence among some illiterate people, especially the family members of Army and the palace employees. Even hard core monarchists such as Rajeshwor Devkota, Lokendra Bahadur Chand, Rabindra Nath Sharma, Pashupati Shumshere Rana, Surya Bahadur Thapa and Kamal Thapa have not shown any courage to advocate for monarchy.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, though he has practically done many things to save monarchy for his family and party causes, has formally expressed his view that the Nepalis would decide the fate of monarchy. The eight political parties now in government have stopped speaking about the royal carnage. But the people are more curious about the fiction-like reality and they are interested in knowing about the stance of the parties regarding this unsolved mystery. Although the probe report dictated by the Army and the royal power trying to establish Dipendra as the one who wiped out his entire family, has reached world libraries and resulted in the profit-making books in Europe and American, the Nepalis have no faith in the report

The probe report contained nothing new. It just compiled all the news reports that quoted royal members and military personnel who stated that they heard the Crown Prince Dipendra murdered his entire family due to a dispute over a marriage issue. The AP, the AFP and other news media published or broadcast the same stories accusing Dipendra. But the Nepalis did not believe in this particular coverage at all. They did not believe that Dipendra, in fully drunken, paralytic and semi-conscious state, could ever hold several heavy automatic weapons and wipe out all of his family members with a sharp selection. In every tea shop or café corner, people were scolding the so-called high level probe committee for doing nothing to find out the exact truth. They were expressing their wrath against the then House Speaker Taranath Ranabhat and the then Chief Justice Keshab Prasad Upaddhyaya for publishing media stories as their findings. This, in fact, persuaded people to believe that there was no one to investigate the incident. Most of the people who openly took part in the discussion in public spheres at grassroot level labeled the royal tragedy as ‘stealing the throne by regicide.’

To detect the ordinary Nepalis’ current psychological position on the royal massacre after six years, this author conducted a very brief telephone and tete-a-tete survey among 500 Nepalis (75 of them rejected to participate in the survey for unknown reasons). Ninety-eight percent of the participants did not believe that Dipendra murdered his family members while only two percent believed he was the culprit. In response to the query regarding whether a re-investigation of the massacre is necessary, ninety-percent of the participants were for re-investigation and the remaining thought any matter of investigation was irrelevant now. Similarly, ninety-eight percent of the participants preferred the immediate abolition of monarchy and the establishment of a republican state structure while only two percent favored the preservation of monarchy.

The survey just reflected the desire of change-seeking masses in Nepal. Millions of grassroot Nepalis in April 2006 took out to the streets across the country continuously up to 19 days by defying ceaseless curfews imposed by the new King Gyanendra. Their vital demand was the immediate abolition of monarchy. However, with the House reinstitution as per the preference of the US Administration and Indian government, the age of monarchy has been prolonged. The restored political parties, with top priority, declared the successor to the present king and prince because they were in favor of preserving monarchy. The Nepali Congress and the Emalay were the ones who did have make some kind of secret compromise with Gyanendra before the restoration of the dissolved House, which can be questioned from different perspectives even now.

After six years of the royal massacre, the Nepalis have restrengthened their belief in the inclusive democracy with timely restructuring of their state. After April 2006, many media reports revealed that thousands of acres of land of the nation have been registered under the personal names of king, queen, and their family members. The media reports indicate that the ownership of the properties of the slain royal family members were also has been transferred to Gyanendra and his family members’ names. This has happened despite people’s demand for the transparency and the nationalization of the properties of the slain royal family members.

Many speculations developed in people’s minds when the new King Gyanendra staged a state coup on 1 February 2005. They have even linked the coup d’etat with the royal massacre. The coup d’etat was characterized by the cut-off of all the communication channels and the arrest and house detention of all the major leaders of the country. Such a move by the new king set worst impressions among people, which led to the demand for the immediate end of monarchy. Although the majority of people have already given their veridict from the streets from unimagined sea strom-like protests, elitist party leaders have been ignoring people's voices. They have been re-searching for their own political identity which they had lost during their corrupt and morally bankrupt rule of 12 years. The White House and Indian regime have deliberately supported the corrupt leadership of Nepal barring the upgrowth of any newly emerging leadership as per the demand of the digial age.


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