From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Sat Jun 2, 2001 4:23pm
Subject: Utter chaos in Kathmandu
We arrived in Kathmandu yesterday afternoon, then something happened last night, just a few blocks from our guesthouse…
The Nepali royal family was completely wiped out during a shooting incident in the Royal Palace here in central Thamel area. Allegedly Crown Prince Dipendra, unhappy about his mother’s choice of his future bride to be, stormed out during a dinner party. He then came back with a machine gun and started shooting at everyone in the room. Finally he shot himself in the head, and he’s now said to be clinically dead, but still kept on life support. Eleven people are confirmed dead including King Birendra and Queen Aiswarya. The dead bodies were paraded through the streets of Kathmandu on open stretchers this evening, and they will already be cremated later tonight. People are outraged and I saw grown men crying on the streets. Hindu people (90 percent of the population) believe the King was a reincarnation of the god Vishnu.
Nobody knows anything about what will happen with Nepal now, who will take over the throne? The berserk Crown Prince, if he should miraculously survive and snap out of the coma, or the King’s younger brother in Pokhara – Prince Gyanendra. Some hope the latter will not happen, because of Gyanendra’s son who’s said to be a murderous madman, will then eventually inherit the throne of Nepal. The future is as uncertain as ever.
I really hope things will calm down soon, so I can continue being drawn towards Mt. Everest (I dropped doing the Annapurna trek), and Trude can complete her pilgrimage to Tibet.