Paras at Airport in Kathmandu. Pic by Narendra Shrestha via Kantipur
Former crown prince Paras flew to Singapore yesterday amid speculation that he plans to quit the country following abolition of the monarchy ,or arrange schooling abroad for his three kids- Hridayendra, Purnika and Kritika. He reached Tribhuvan International Airport flanked by personal security officials (PSO) and close relatives. Airport security officials said that he boarded a direct Silk Air flight to Singapore at around 1 pm. Paras’s late uncle Dhirendra’s son-in-law and close aide of the former monarch, Dr Rajiv Shahi, who survived in the 2001 royal massacre, saw Paras off at the airport. Paras was accompanied to Singapore by his brother-in-law Raj Bahadur Singh and Adarsh Bikram Rana.
Before he headed towards the airport, journalists asked him if he planned to return, but he only smiled. Paras, who went through the VIP lounge, traveled on an ordinary passport as a common citizen, airport security said. “For security purposes, he used the VIP lounge, but no special security was arranged for him,” Senior Superintendent of Police Dhak Bahadur Karki, chief of Airport security, said, adding that Paras traveled as a commoner. Sources at Silk Air confirmed that he had booked three business class seats on the plane. Reports have it that Paras has left for Singapore to set up a permanent base there and he has called for his wife and children to join him after a few days. Some newspapers, on the other hand, speculated that he was heading for Singapore to find a school and a home for his family, but he would not stay there permanently.
After the withdrawal of all royal privileges enjoyed by the 240 year-old monarchy, Paras was concerned for the safety of his family. Paras’ father Gyanendra became the last king of the Shah dynasty on May 28 when the Constituent Assembly elected the previous month declared the country a republic.