Name killer, say Nepal royal family survivors

Two Nepalese royal family members have, for the first time, blamed the late King Dipendra for murdering his father and almost…

Two Nepalese royal family members have, for the first time, blamed the late King Dipendra for murdering his father and almost the entire ruling family and demanded that he be declared their killer publicly.

Three journalists have been arrested after their newspaper published an article by the leader of Nepal's five-year Maoist insurgency accusing the palace of "covering up" the murder of King Birendra and eight of his family.

"The facts that I have been able to gather so far lead me to believe that Dipendra opened fire and killed everyone," Mr Neer Shah, the brother of one the princesses killed in last Friday night's massacre told India's Star news channel yesterday. The people concerned have not made this public, he declared in a veiled reference to the newly-installed King Gyanendra.

Retired Lieut-Gen Suraj Shumsher Rana, brother of slain Queen Aishwarya, said Dipendra fired on his father who fell to the floor in a pool of blood. He told Janastha newspaper that Dipendra continued firing, sending guests screaming and hiding behind sofas. Gen Rana said the Crown Prince chased his mother, Queen Aishwarya, and brother, Prince Niranjan, to an adjoining garden and shot them dead with great deliberation.

Hours after officials claimed Prince Dipendra had killed his family following a dispute about his choice of bride, King Gynandera said the shooting was "accidental".

Nepal is awash with competing accounts of the slaughter of King Birendra, his queen and seven family members, further deepening the mystery that has rocked this impoverished Himalayan kingdom.

But all the versions agree that Crown Prince Dipendra - king for two days - killed his family with an assault rifle, before turning the weapon on himself. He survived, but died in a coma in hospital two days later.

According to Star news, Dipendra arrived home drunk around 7 p.m. for a weekly family dinner, was admonished for his inebriated state and sent to his room by his father. He emerged at 9.15 p.m. dressed in military fatigues and armed with two assault rifles and a pistol tucked in his belt. He then summoned all the palace aides-de-camp and locked them in a room, from which they broke out after the firing ceased.

He returned to the living room and killed his father with nine bullet wounds. His uncle Dhirendra, a karate black belt, reportedly tried to overpower Dipendra, but he too was cut down by gunfire and died on Monday night.

The news channel said Dipendra pursued his mother and brother to the garden and killed them. He then reportedly came back inside where his cousin Paras, the new king's son and heir, pleaded with him to stop the massacre, upon which he shot himself in the temple.

Some Nepali papers have suggested that Dipendra had married Deviyani, the daughter of a Rana royal and former foreign minister despite his parents' opposition some months ago, and told them about it at the Friday family get-together.

After a heated argument, Queen Aishwarya is believed to have told the crown prince he would not be made king and ordered him upstairs. He returned shortly after and killed them.

Deviyani has left Kathmandu and is reportedly in Moscow. Unconfirmed reports suggested she was pregnant.