Ousted Nepal crown prince in gun brawl with minister’s kinBy Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS
Monday, December 13, 2010
KATHMANDU - Still simmering dangerously over the abolition of monarchy and the loss of his legacy, Nepal’s ousted crown prince Paras hit the headlines Monday for a gun brawl with the kin of Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala, whose father had played a key role in the transformation of the Hindu kingdom into a secular republic.
The 39-year-old former playboy, notorious for his flamboyant lifestyle and arrogance in the past, admitted he had fired a round of bullets in the air Saturday night after being provoked by two men, an Indian and a Bangladeshi.
The incident occurred at the Tiger Tops resort in southern Nepal’s Chitwan district where Paras had flown last week with his family to watch the renowned elephant polo tournament.
Trouble began to brew after he bumped into Rubel Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi national married to Melina Jost, the daughter of Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala.
Chowdhury, his wife and their four-year-old son had gone to the resort with friends, including an Indian entrepreneur who owns one of the five-star hotels in Kathmandu.
Koirala’s father, late prime minister 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.
Media reports Monday said after the two groups were introduced Saturday night, politics crept into the conversation, triggering an angry response from the former crown prince.
During Saturday night’s heated arguments in the bar, Paras, said to be intoxicated, whipped out a gun and reporedly threatened Chowdhury with it.
On Monday, in a statement sent to the media, Paras admitted he had fired a round in the air but said he had been provoked by gibes insulting him and Nepal. Also, no one was injured.
Chowdhury’s alarmed companions rushed him and his family away to another district in the neighbourhood immediately.
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 Southeast Asian countries, called up Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, Home Minister Bhim Rawal and other senior officials, demanding action against the former royal.
However, till Monday, no action had been taken. Given the fragility of Nepal’s caretaker government and the growing culture of impunity, it is unlikely that any step will be taken against the former crown prince as the deposed royals continue to wield considerable power despite the abolition of monarchy.
Paras is known for his trigger-happy days during monarchy. In one incident, he fired several shots in the air outside a night club in the capital after an altercation with his wife, the then crown princess Himani.
The new offence will freshly revive in public memory Paras’ former offences, including running over a popular singer and causing his death.
The manslaughter had gone unpunished as till then the constitution gave Nepal’s royal family impunity.