Royal massacre, royal massacre investigation

Where is the post-mortem report? Why was the house where the mass shooting occurred destroyed?

The inquiry panel’s investigation into the royal massacre was full of weakness and imperfection since no post-mortem examination on the victims’ body was performed, said Neer Shah.


Shah’s elder brother Khadga Bikram Shah and sister-in-law Sharada Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah–a sister of Late King Birendra Shah, were two of the ten members killed in mass shooting during a monthly reunion dinner of the royal family at a house on the grounds of Narayanhiti Royal Palace on June 1, 2001. King Birendra and his family members Queen Aishwarya, Crown Prince Deependra, Princess Shruti and Princess Nirajan were killed in the massacre, which is considered a black night in Nepal’s history.


Shah, also a movie actor and director, said he was attending a success party of a movie when he heard the news about the royal killings.

“A cousin of mine had called to inform about the incident. I, then, rushed to the Military Hospital, Chhauni. My brother and his wife were already dead then,” recalls Shah, talking to Rishi Dhamala at Prime Times Television’s talk show Janata Janna Chahanchan.

“Bishow Bikram Shah, a secretary of the palace, told me about details of the incident. He said he heard that Crown Prince Deependra opened fire at the royal members.”

“Later I asked the survivors who were physically present during the mass shooting. I asked Gorakh Sumsher, Ketaki Chester. They said it was Prince Deependra who first opened fire on King Birendra.”


A two-member inquiry panel comprising Keshav Prasad Upadhaya, chief justice of the Supreme Court and Taranath Ranabhat, speaker of the House of Representatives formed to probe into the royal killings, after interviewing more than a hundred people including eyewitnesses and palace officials, guards and staff, concluded that “the drunken crown prince indiscriminately opened fired killing the royals”.


“I am not happy with the investigation. I did not even get to see the post-mortem report of my family. No autopsy was performed.”

“I even asked where the post-mortem report was. They said no post-mortem was done.”

“I lost three members of my family. When my mother heard the news, she immediately died in shock.”

“I will never forget the tragic incident,” he said.


Eighteen years have passed but the mystery surrounding the circumstances of the massacre is still unanswered given the details such as apparent lack of security at the palace, absence of Gyanendra Shah, right-handed Deependra’s self-inflicted head wound on his left temple, presence of two bullets inside his temple instead of one and lack of any major forensic analysis.


“The mass shooting of the royal members including the King and Queen during a reunion party could not be the result of spontaneity. It could have been planned for years.”

“How could the security fail to protect the head of the state inside the well-guarded palace?” he wondered.

“The incident became a mystery because it lacked proof. The process of investigation was flawed.”

“Everybody made an assumption on how it happened, which added more mystery to the incident. A large community believes that Deependra is not the killer.”

“The first thing done after a murder takes places is the post-mortem examination. The investigation is moved ahead on the basis of the police report. Even if one has witnessed a murder, it needs the post-mortem report to be proved.”

“Why was the post-mortem report of the dead bodies of the royal massacre not prepared?”

“I don’t know about the others. But I have the right to know about the post-mortem report of my brother and sister-in-law. I still demand it.”

“The United States government has protected the JK Kennedy murder site. Why was the house in Narayanhiti where the mass shooting occurred demolished?”

“Later, the palace issued a press release which no people were ready to believe.”


Deependra was proclaimed king while in a coma. He died after three days. Following Deependra’s death, King Birendra’s brother Gyanendra ascended himself to the throne. While Deependra was in living, Gyandendra issued a press release maintaining that the deaths were the result of “accidental discharge of an automatic weapon” within the royal palace. Gyanendra’s wife Komal had also survived the mass shooting.


“How can you believe this? How can people believe that the deaths occurred due to the accidental discharge of automatic weapon?

Shah also said that the dispute over Deependra’s love affair and marriage choice could be one of the reasons he could have killed his father Birendra.


Rumors say that Deependra was angry that the royal family was in position the crown price should not marry Devyani Rana, daughter of Pashupati Shumsher Junga Bahadur Rana, because she had relatives in India.


“Many say that the marriage dispute could be one of the reasons. But, I am not sure about it,” Shah shrugged.

“I cannot say the massacre happened only because of the dispute in marriage.”

Shah said the state should be ready to find out the truth behind the killing of the royal family.

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