Ex-King Gyanendra Does in Nepal What His Ancestors Never Did

Keeping track of the former king

gyanendra in panauti
click to enlarge. pic via kantipur

Almost two years after he was stripped of his crown and became a commoner, Nepal’s deposed king Gyanendra himself has broken a centuries-old taboo by attending a religious fair in a town till now considered out of bounds for the royal family. Escorted by bodyguards and aides, the 62-year-old ousted king drove himself yesterday (Monday) to Panauti, a town 35 km southeast of Kathmandu, to attend the Makar Mela, a Hindu fair held every 12 years. In the past, legend had it that Panauti was a forbidden area for the Shah kings of Nepal since it was the domain of Hindu god Narayan and the kings of Nepal were considered incarnations of the same god. Since Gyanendra’s ancestor Prithvi Narayan Shah annexed Panauti in the 18th century, the legend sprang up and flourished, keeping the royal family away from the town.

An aide to the former king, Sagar Timalsina, told Kantipur daily that Gyanendra Shah visited the fair as a common citizen attending a religious event and not as a king. The former king, unaccompanied by his wife, who looked in a cheerful mood offered support worth Rs 1 Lakh (one hundred thousands) each to the construction of Old Age home and establishment of an educational institution in the area.. With the Panauti taboo broken, it remains to be seen if Gyanendra will now take on the remaining one, observed a Kathmandu-based reporter of an Indian news agency who made several errors while translating the original news report in Kantipur daily. North of Kathmandu lies a colossal statue of Vishnu, another incarnation of Narayan, lying in a bed of serpents on a pool. The Budanilkantha temple is the only one in Nepal that was forbidden to the royal family of Nepal after a legend arose that the king would die if he ever gazed on the 15 feet high statue. Continue reading Ex-King Gyanendra Does in Nepal What His Ancestors Never Did


Jamim Shah Murder: A Statement from Delhi?

[The Jamim Shah murder] is a statement from New Delhi that it will not let off anyone it perceives as hostile to its national interests.– A senior Nepali police officer

By Mukul Humagain, Anil Giri and Baburam Kharel

The Indian underworld gang run by Chhota Rajan could be behind Sunday’s killing of media entrepreneur Jamim Shah, Nepali police said, adding that it was zeroing in on the killers and the mastermind behind the killing. According to Superintendent of Police Ganesh K. C., chief of Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, the role of international criminals has been established and the killers will soon be nabbed. “Shah’s murder has been carried out by someone from the Chhota Rajan gang,” K. C. told the Kathmandu Post. He said the phone calls made to Cable Television Association and Avenues TV on Monday (yesterday) and interrogations of more than a dozen people indicate that the killers had arrived in Kathmandu on a ‘mission’ to kill Shah.

Call details of Bharat Nepali who claimed responsibility for Shah’s killing obtained from Nepal Telecom and leads from people close to Shah and Yunus Ansari (who was arrested a few weeks ago for his alleged involvement in a fake Indian currency racket) pointed out the involvement of the Chhota Rajan group, according to police. Bharat had claimed that he was responsible for the murder because Jamim was involved in anti-India activities.

Interestingly, it was Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhale, aka Chhota Rajan, who claimed responsibility for the killing of Mirza Dilshad Beg, a lawmaker, in Kathmandu in 1998.  Rajan had offered similar reasons for the killing: Beg’s anti-Indian position.

Shah’s murder took place 13 months after police arrested Rajan’s three hitmen in Kathmandu. All three — Ganesh Shah alias ‘Tinku’, Anil Baniya alias ‘Vikky’ and Mukesh Kumar Yadav — were arrested in March. Police had disclosed then that they were planning to kill “some high-profile people.” The hitmen were arrested with sophisticated weapons.

Apart from the government formed 5-member judicial panel to probe Shah’s murder, Nepal Police has formed a taskforce led by DIG Rajendra Singh Bhandari. SSP Rana Bahadur Chand, SP Milan Basnet and DSPs Diwas Udas and Jagat Man Shrestha. Likewise, the Office of Metropolitan Police Commissioner has formed a five-member probe team led by SSP Madhav Nepal.

Uncanny parallels between Beg’s and Shah’s deaths

“[The Jamim murder] is a statement from New Delhi that it will not let off anyone it perceives as hostile to its national interests.”– A Nepali police officer

By Akhilesh Upadhyay
Editor, The Kathmandu Post

The gruesome murder on Sunday of media entrepreneur Jamim Shah, 47, has brought back chilling memories of June 29, 1998. On that day, Mirza Dilshad Beg, a sitting lawmaker, was gunned down outside his home in Siphal, Kathmandu. It was a dark night and the hillside neighbourhood looked darker still due to load-shedding, when we (reporters and photographers from Kantipur and The Kathmandu Post) arrived at the scene, soon after the 9.30 hit-and-run incident.

The newsroom had received a tip-off from a local who had heard what he suspected were gun-shots. It was an innocent world in many ways. Nepalis were still unfamiliar with sounds of bombs and gun-shots, the Maoist-waged “people’s war” was still in its infancy, violent deaths still shook everybody, and political assassination was unheard of. But what shocked the Nepalis most was how ugly games from powerful external forces could play out in Nepal, as it watched haplessly. The incident also gave many of us in the newsroom a first-hand lesson on forces which operate from behind the scene. Two of the theories that made the rounds then clearly pointed at the cross-border nature of the operation; the third one was that Beg’s death had to do with “family problems,” which turned out to be false. Continue reading Jamim Shah Murder: A Statement from Delhi?