Australia rape accused ‘faked’ Nepal royal family link

July 22nd, 2010 - 3:19 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, July 22 (IANS) A 21-year-old Nepali, who has been arrested in Australia for allegedly raping a 44-year-old woman while delivering food to her residence, faked links to the former royal family of Nepal, according to officials and experts in Nepal.

Amit Hamal, a restaurant delivery boy in Sydney who now faces the charge of raping a woman last Friday, lied when he claimed to be a member of Nepal’s deposed royal family.

Officials at Nirmal Niwas, the residence of Nepal’s former crown prince Paras Bir Bikram Shah told IANS Thursday that there was no royal relative by that name.

The denial was echoed by Kishor Shrestha, editor of Nepali weekly Jana Aastha, known for its keyhole coverage of the erstwhile royal family of Nepal.

“The royal Shah family of Nepal has matrimonial alliances with castes like Singhs, Shahis and Basnets,” Shrestha said. “But there are no Hamals, who are from a different caste. I don’t see any link between Amit Hamal and the former royal family.”

According to Shrestha, it is a common practice for Nepalis, who go abroad illegally or overstay or want to migrate there, to plead links either to the former royal family of Nepal or the Maoists and seek amnesty, saying their lives would be in jeopardy if they return to Nepal.

Another royal link claim surfaced last year after a 27-year-old Nepali conman was arrested for murder in the US.

Kaushal Niraula is alleged to have been part of a gang of five people who befriended a 70-year-old retired art dealer in California, dipped into his bank account, sold his Mercedes and tried to sell his house after killing him during a burglary attempt.

Niraula, who left a trail of fraud, embezzlement and impersonation charges, went to the US on a student visa in 2002 and claimed he was seeking asylum there due to his close relations to the former royal family of Nepal.

In contrast to the asylum seekers, Nepal’s ousted king Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah, who faced tremendous hostility after staging a bloodless coup and trying to rule the country in 2005, has, however, refused to leave Nepal or seek asylum elsewhere.

After Nepal’s parliament abolished monarchy in 2008 and he was ordered to leave the royal palace, the last king of Nepal said he would continue to live in Nepal and serve the country’s interests.

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