Prachanda turns on the heat over Narayanhity massacre

February 26, 2009 news service

In face of substantial media attention drawn by ousted King Gyanendra Bir Bikran Shah’s maiden foreign sojourn as a commoner, Nepal’s Maost Prime Minister Pushpa Kumar Dahal alias Prachanda on Thursday vowed to reinvestigate the royal massacre at the Narayanhity Palace.

King Birendra, his wife Aiswarya and seven other members of the royal family were gunned down on June 1, 2001, at a family gathering in the palace, apparently by Crown Prince Dipendra, who was also found dead.

Prachanda said the culprits would be punished, he was speaking at a ceremony marking the opening of the museum created at the former royal palace.

A government investigation was ordered but the report was inconclusive and left several questions unanswered.

The building where the massacre took place was later demolished by Birendra’s brother, Gyanendra, who assumed the throne after the killings.

Gyanendra was forced to give up his authoritarian rule in April 2006 after weeks of pro-democracy protests.

He was stripped of all his powers and command of the army soon after that. A Constituent Assembly elected in May 2008 abolished the monarchy and declared Nepal a republic.

Gyanendra, currently on a private trip to India, now lives as a civilian in a summer retreat on the outskirts of the capital, Katmandu.

With Prachanda turning the heat on Gyanendra, who the former says ordered demolition of the Tribhuvan Sadan – the venue of the ghastly Palace killings to destroy evidence, the former Himalayan Kingdom’s commoner-king just might stay back and enjoy a longer Indian summer.

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