Nepal’s ruling party seeks ex-crown prince’s arrest after gun brawl (Second Lead)December 13th, 2010 - 6:38 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, Dec 13 (IANS) In an unprecedented turn in Nepal’s history, police Monday began an investigation into a gun brawl involving ousted crown prince Paras Bir Bikram Shah and the son-in-law of the nation’s deputy prime minister after a media outcry and a call by the largest party in the ruling alliance for Paras’ arrest.Nepal’s police Monday sent a four-member police team headed by deputy superintendent of police Ravi Raj Khadka to Tiger Tops, an upmarket wildlife resort in Chitwan in southern Nepal, to look into the altercation Saturday during which Paras himself admitted to having fired a round of bullets.
The belated probe was ordered after Nepal’s media Monday reported Paras letting fly with his Colt after an altercation with Rubel Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi national married to Melanie, daughter of Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala, and his companion, an Indian employed at a five-star hotel in the capital.
The outburst was set off apparently by the ousted crown prince’s still raw wound at the abolition of monarchy and the loss of his legacy two years ago, for which the former royals blame Koirala’s father, late prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala.
Girija Prasad Koirala is regarded as the architect of a peace agreement between Nepal’s major political parties and the Maoist guerrillas that eventually led to the scrapping of the crown in 2008.
Deposed king Gyanendra is believed by royalists to have been betrayed by Koirala and the Maoists, who had promised to support a constitutional monarchy if the king stepped down without a further show of strength but then went back on their word.
The gun brawl occurred Saturday night after Paras, who was reported to have been intoxicated, picked a fight with Chowdhury and his companion.
Chowdhury, his wife and their four-year-old son had gone to the resort with friends.
Paras admitted he had fired in the air but blamed it on Chowdhury and his companion, who, he claimed, had provoked him by taunting him and insulting his country.
“I had gone to Tiger Tops with my family as part of our programme in Dhading and Sarlahi districts,” the former heir to Nepal’s throne said in a statement. “While I was having dinner in the restaurant, a Bangladeshi and Indian came and tried to engage me in conversation.
“They kept on saying provocative comments about my role in the past and the (non-governmental) organisation I head. I tried to control myself but they kept on saying insulting things about me, my family and my country.”
The former crown prince admitted that he lost his temper, went out of the restaurant and fired one round of bullets in the air. However, he said that no one had been injured and the hotel had sustained no damage.
Chowdhury’s alarmed companions rushed him and his family away to nearby Nawalparasi district for their safety.
The drama received a fresh twist with Chowdhury’s mother-in-law Sujata Koirala seeking punitive action against Paras.
The foreign minister, who is currently on a tour of South East Asian countries, called up Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, Home Minister Bhim Rawal and other senior officials, demanding action against the former royal.
Koirala’s Nepali Congress party Monday condemned Paras’ action and asked for quick punitive action.
Sushil Koirala, president of the party, issued a statement saying he was amazed that the caretaker government of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal had failed to initiate any action more than two days later.
Koirala said the guilty should be punished to prevent such incidents recurring in future.
The new escapade will freshly revive in public memory Paras’ former offences, including running over a popular singer and causing his death.
About three years ago, he had also fired several rounds in the air outside a night club after an altercation with his wife, the then crown princess Himani.
The offences went unpunished since till then, the constitution gave Nepal’s royal family impu-nity.
The gun brawl also resurrects the ghost of the royal massacre of 2001 when King Birendra and nine more members of the royal family were killed in a hail of bullets in the tightly guarded royal palace.
Paras, who was present during the carnage but survived, is regarded with suspicion by Nepalis despite his statements that the bloodbath was perpetrated by Brendra’s son Dipendra due to an altercation with his parents over his girlfriend.
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