Nepal palace massacre survivor finds new love

August 7th, 2008 - 1:24 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, Aug 7 (IANS) The man who witnessed the gunning down of his loved ones at the horrific massacre in Nepal’s royal palace and survived despite injuries will start a new life seven years after the tragedy. Gorakh Shumsher Rana, the son-in-law of assassinated Nepal king Birendra, is set to get married this year. Like Devyani Rana, the girlfriend of Nepal’s late crown prince Dipendra, who decided to bury the past and exchange wedding vows with Indian Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Arjun Singh’s grandson Aishwarya, the Nepali aristocrat will take the plunge in December.

Rana had his life turned upside down by the carnage in June 2001. Besides witnessing the slaying of the king, queen Aishwarya and other royal relatives, he also saw his wife, princess Shruti, die in the hail of bullets that was blamed on a drinks and drugs-crazed Dipendra.

Rana himself received bullet injuries but survived.

He was also a key witness who described the incidents before the commission formed to investigate the massacre that sowed the seeds of destruction for Nepal’s royal dynasty.

The 39-year-old, who was married to the princess in 1997 and has two daughters by her, will plight his troth again to the niece of former royalist prime minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand.

The bride, Dipti, is a humanities student at Kathmandu’s Padma Kanya campus. Rana, an economics graduate and MBA from the US, is currently working for the Standard Chartered Bank in Nepal.

Only four people who had attended that fateful family dinner on June 1 survived while 10 died. Besides Rana, the other three were the then queen mother Ratna, who had retired before the shooting started, Aishwarya’s sister Komal who later became queen, and Komal’s son Paras, who later became the crown prince.

The three-day wedding from Dec 8 however promises to be at a much lower key than Devyani’s, which was the marriage of the year and celebrated with pomp in both India and Nepal.

The marriage is likely to be attended by deposed king Gyanendra and his wife Komal, who have also been leading a quiet life on the outskirts of Kathmandu since the abolition of monarchy and their ouster from the royal palace in June.

Rana has been a staunch opponent of the various conspiracy theories that began to arise after the palace massacre. Some people believe that the gunman was actually a hired assassin from abroad who wore a mask resembling Dipendra and killed the heir to Nepal’s throne as well.

Nepal’s Maoists have alleged that Gyanendra’s family was involved in the slayings that paved the way for his ascent to the throne.

Others hint at the complicity of external agencies like the CIA and India’s RAW agency.

Rana however has staunchly maintained that he saw Dipendra go berserk and let fly with the gun, killing his family.

Later, Dipendra is said to have turned the gun on himself.

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