>> Thursday, August 6, 2009
Photo from http://www.theodora.com/wfb/photos/nepal/nepal_photos_6.html
I'm out of questions, so in to trivia...
On June 1, someone, ostensibly the Crown Prince Dipendra, open fired on a gathering of his own relatives, killing ten people and injuring five more. Among the dead were his father, King Bipendra, and his mother, Queen Aiswarya, and, eventually, himself.
His father, King Bipendra, was well-educated and well-traveled, an individual who took some interest in the condition of the people in his homeland. However, he resisted efforts to become a democracy from his ascension to the throne in 1972 until 1990, when he bowed to pressure and agreed to change the government to a constitutional monarchy. That didn't quiet all the unrest from the Maoist party, but it was no longer at a crisis level.
Among those slain, in addition to his parents, were both Dipendra's siblings, two of his uncles (on by marriage), two of his aunts and one of his father's cousins. Dipendra also managed to wound two aunts (including one by marriage), his sister's husband, another of his father's cousins and his own cousin, Prince Paras, who became the new Crown Prince.
According to eyewitnesses, Dipendra went to his room, then returned an hour later with two automatic weapons and open fired on his family before turning the gun on himself. He lived three days longer, technically king, before succumbing to his wounds.
By what many consider a suspicious coincidence, King Bipendra's brother, Gyanendra was not there and his son and wife (who were present) were spared the slaughter (though they were injured). And, yes, despite the investigations, there are still some who think that's mighty peculiar.
Gyanendra was not popular in Nepal and his son was even less so. Gyanendra tried to go back to an absolute monarchy and fought a losing battle with his own country for several years. But, eventually, the monarchy was abolished in 2008 and Nepal became a democratic republic, the youngest in the world...at the moment.